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A parliamentary panel has directed secretary Ministry of Housing and Works to present asset details of employees working at his ministry along with their families' assets. The decision was taken by a subcommittee of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) which met here on Monday in the chair of Noor Alam Khan. The panel while taking serious notice of billions of rupees irregularities in Ministry of Housing and attached departments asked the secretary housing why people working in the ministry are not considering the problems being faced by the common people due to their attitude.
Reviewing and discussing audit paras of Ministry of Housing and Works for the year 2017-18, the panel directed the secretary housing to present the asset details of the employees working on senior positions in his ministry from their joining date to present status. The panel was informed by the audit officials that Federal Government Employees Housing Foundation (FGEHS), an attached body of the Housing Ministry, illegally awarded the contract of Thallian Motorway Housing Scheme to a private company which was registered with Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan just 6 days before the project was launched.
The audit officials said that Thallian Housing Scheme costing Rs 23 billion was launched as a joint venture with the private firm, but audit department has unearthed serious irregularities in the award of the contract. The convener committee said that this project should be sent to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for a probe, but his suggestion was opposed by the Member of National Assembly (MNA) Syed Naveed Qamar. Qamar said that thousands of cases are already pending with NAB and the body at present is only pursuing selected cases; therefore, the secretary housing must be directed to investigate the matter within a month and submit the report with the committee.
The panel also took up the issue of bulletproof car used by former federal minister for housing and works, which caused Rs 20 million loss to the national kitty. The panel asked NAB to probe the matter within a month and submit the report to the PAC Secretariat. The audit officials said that the vehicle was four years old which was purchased for the federal minister for housing and works against the directives of the Prime Minister Secretariat. The officials informed the panel that the purchase of the vehicle was approved by the former secretary housing Arabab Shahrukh. The convener committee asked the NAB to complete probe into the matter within a month.
The audit officials said that Public Works Department (PWD) awarded three road contracts in violation of PPRA rules which cost Rs 230 million to the national kitty and the road ruined within months. The convener committee remarked that British constructed roads are still in working condition while roads built by PWD and other local departments become unusable after 6 months.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2019