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A parliamentary panel has directed the Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP), Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Law and Public Accounts Committee Secretariat to club entire data of unsettled audit paras of over 10 years and set a mechanism to resolve the paras involving multibillion rupees.

These instructions were given by MNA Rana Tanvir Hussain while chairing a subcommittee meeting of the PAC. The participants while discussing and reviewing the audit paras of Higher Education Commission (HEC) of years 1999 to 2009 came to know that many audit objections against various public sector entities are decades old and the principal accounts officers (PAOs) have not made serious efforts in settling the audit paras.

The panel directed PAC Secretariat to write a letter to the Prime Minister and finance minister in this regard as outstanding audit objections against various departments involve billions of rupees amount.

The unauthorized appointments of 22-member staff in 1995-96 by the principal of Federal Government Urdu Arts College, which later was given the status of Federal Urdu University, cost Rs 3.2 million to national kitty, the panel said, adding that the PAO of the education department at that time should have resolved this issue. The panel was informed by the officials that an inquiry was held on the matter and responsibility was fixed on the former principal but she died; therefore, now Ministry of Finance can write off this objection or syndicate of the university can regularize the staff or opinion from Ministry of Law and Justice can be sought over such issues.

Member committee Riaz Fatyana said that all audit paras of over 10 years old must be clubbed and opinion from the Ministry of Law and Justice should be sought to resolve such pending matters.

Member committee Raja Pervaiz Ashraf said if the concerned departments had timely conducted departmental accounts committee (DAC) meetings, such audit objections should have been resolved long ago. He said that the PAOs of the concerned departments must be held responsible for such long delays of audit objections. Moreover audit department should also be given certain powers to recover stalled money, Ashraf added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019