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The Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) has decided to create a separate wing to carry out the audit of various projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). This was revealed by senior officials of the AGP while briefing a subcommittee of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) here on Tuesday which met under the chairpersonship of Shahida Akhtar Ali.
The AGP officials gave a briefing to the panel members on how to enhance the capacity building of the staff of the audit department, internal audit, control system of the ministries/divisions, perks/privileges and independence of the audit department. The AGP officials also revealed that most of the corporate sector organisations do not cooperate with audit officials and employ delaying tactics whenever they are asked for the audit. On the complaint of the AGP, the panel sought the details of such organisations declining audit.
Member committee Riaz Fatyana suggested that the audit of the AGP officials should also be carried out. Acknowledging the suggestion of Riaz Fatyana, another member of the committee, Syed Hussain Tariq, said that audit office should be audited by a third party.
Member committee Noor Alam Khan said some officers during their early days of service come to office by public transport or bicycles but after serving a few years, they get expensive vehicles and a number of bungalows as well as residential or commercial plots here in Pakistan, with their children studying in the United States. He said all these things are not listed in audit, adding neither National Accountability Bureau (NAB) nor Federal Investigating Agency (FIA) has ever probed such officials.
He said when a parliamentarian purchases some thing; it becomes the parts of official record while such details are missing when it comes to public servants, adding that the details of all such officials must be made public. The secretary Establishment Division told the committee that there are various inquiries under process against 100 officers of different grades. He added that NAB and FIA are also carrying out investigations against various officials of the federal bureaucracy.
Audit officials told the committee that the officials of other federal departments are promoted to grade-21 on attaining the age of 52 while AGP officials get grade-21 at the age of 58, which is a ''serious discrimination''. The AGP officials further complained that the pension of AGP employees was abolished in 2015 through an SRO and it was said that gratuity will be given.
They said that the AGP at present is responsible for conducting the audit of 47,000 departments, while the AGP officers are not provided with official vehicles and are only paid travel and dining allowances. Noor Alam Khan said that it has been observed that the children of federal government officers are also using official cars. The audit officials further stated that there was a backlog of 18 years in audit but now it has been reduced to 6 years and the department with the active cooperation of the PAC is working harder to clear it.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019