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ISLAMABAD: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Thursday warned Chairman National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) Tauseef H Farooqi to cooperate with audit officials in undertaking the audits of his department or get ready to face the music.

The warning from the top parliamentary watchdog comes after constant delay to provide the record to Auditor General for Pakistan (AGP) by the Nepra despite repeated warnings.

“If you cannot provide the record [to AGP officials], you must tender your resignation,” a visibly enraged PAC Chairman Noor Alam Khan told the Nepra chairman.

The PAC which met here with Noor Alam Khan in the chair discussed audit paras pertaining to Power and Cabinet Divisions for 2018-19 and 2019-20.

The committee expressed concerns over the audit process and the lack of cooperation from certain government bodies especially Nepra which is reluctant to provide the records for audit.

The audit officials informed the committee that Universal Service Fund, Nepra and Frequency Allocation Board had failed to provide the necessary records for audit purposes.

The PAC chairman directed the officials to comply with the audit process and provide all necessary records to the Auditor General for Pakistan, saying the committee would not tolerate any negligence in this regard.

Despite claims by AGP officials of non-cooperation, the chairman Nepra insisted that the authority’s audit had already been undertaken.

But this did not satisfy the PAC chairman who warned the chairman Nepra he would not accept any excuse with regard to audit of any department as state institutions are supposed to undertake audits.

Birjis Tahir, a member of the committee, inquired about the party against which Nepra had managed to get an injunction from the court, adding it shows how transparently how transparent the working of authority is.

The PAC chairman said that Nepra should withdraw its request from the high court and ensure full compliance with audit authorities.

Expressing dissatisfaction over implementing PAC orders by Nepra, he said that if the chairman Nepra continued to defy the PAC orders and failed to provide the necessary record to audit officials, he will be left with no option but to take action against him.

The PAC meeting concluded with a renewed call for accountability, stressing the importance of transparency and cooperation from all government bodies during the audit process.

Khan said that PAC is committed to ensure the proper use of public funds and expects state institutions to fully comply with the necessary audit requirements.

During the discussion on audit paras pertaining to the Power Division, the PAC chairman said that the Power Division had recovered a huge sum of Rs90 billion which is commendable.

However, he said that a substantial amount of Rs161 billion is yet to be recovered, adding there is a need to ensure all outstanding amount is recovered.

Meanwhile, a performance report issued by the PAC Secretariat said that recoveries to the tune of Rs1,153 billion were made by the top parliamentary panel from December 2018 to May 2023.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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