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ISLAMABAD: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) reiterated the regulatory authorities, the NADRA Technologies Limited (NTL), the Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL), some statutory bodies, and other organisations to cooperate with the Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) in holding audit, otherwise, action would be taken in case of non-compliance.

The committee had sent reminders to all such organisations which are denying access to their record for audit purposes.

The directives say that the Constitution has to be followed, as the performance audit and financial audit are necessary under the Constitution.

The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra), the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA), and other authorities always point out a decision from the Cabinet Division in their favour which is not acceptable to the committee.

The regulators are arguing that the financial audit of these departments is going on, and issues are still arising on the matter of performance audit, as the regulatory bodies do not fall under the ministries concerned.

The oil and gas regulator contends that the joint reading of Section 15(2) of the Auditor General Ordinance 2001 and Section 17(3) of the Ogra Ordinance 2002 concludes that the extent and scope of the audit is limited to the accounts of the authority only as the regulatory functions of the authority do not fall within its scope. “Anything beyond this scope would be without jurisdiction and without lawful authority,” the Ogra chairperson holds.

Article 170(2) of the Constitution of Pakistan 1973, according to the Ogra letter, also stipulates the “audit of the accounts of the federal and of the provincial governments and the accounts of any authority or body established by, or under the control of, the federal or provincial government shall be conducted by the Auditor General, who shall determine the extent and nature of such audit”.

The PAC’s directive for a performance audit of the NEPRA cannot be implemented following case in court by the regulator, sources said. Noor Alam Khan, however, said that the audit of the NEPRA would be held as per directives.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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