The Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Rana Tanveer Hussain, has said that many ministries are not conducting their regular departmental accounts committee meetings, including the Ministry of Commerce. It is grave financial misconduct by the ministries and those who are responsible for their financial matters.
He stated this while chairing the 67th meeting of the Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee in the Parliament House today where audit paras pertaining to the Ministry of Commerce were on the agenda.
The committee was informed that the Advisor to the Prime Minister on Commerce, Abdul Razzaq Dawood, had contracted the coronavirus and has quarantined himself. The Secretary of Commerce also could not attend the meeting for the same reason.
The Chairman of the committee said that there are certain forces that do not want its independent working. He said that there is a big issue in the Pakistan Post Office Department and the Habib Bank Limited Rs. 118 billion deal, but the Speaker’s office had sent a message to refrain from raising this issue.
He said that in the subcommittee of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chaired by MNA Noor Alam Khan, the Chairman of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was not attending the meeting.
Senator Sherry Rehman said while considering the audit objections of the President House, the officials did not answer any question. She said that no meeting of the PAC has been held on the expenses of the Presidency to date.
While considering the audit objections of the Ministry of Commerce, the audit report revealed that the delay in the construction of the State Life building in Islamabad had caused a loss of Rs. 820 million. The Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce told the committee that the building plan had to be changed due to the refusal of the SNGPL to supply gas.
The PAC referred the matter to the departmental accounts committee to settle the issue and bring back the ministry’s recommendations. The committee was also informed that misappropriation of Rs. 12 million had been recorded in State Life Hyderabad. Ministry officials informed the committee that the case had been referred to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and Rs. 7.4 million has been recovered.
Audit officials informed the committee that the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) has to collect Rs. 4 billion from the sugar mills. The Chairman of the TCP informed the committee that Haseeb Waqas Sugar Mill, Seri Sugar Mill, Tando Muhammad Khan Sugar Mill, and Tandlianwala Sugar Mill have to pay their dues. He said that these mills sell sugar in the market at cheap rates instead of selling it to the Utility Stores Corporation (USC). He added that the matter has been pursued by the NAB.
The Chairman of the committee referred this matter to the subcommittee of the PAC.
While talking to the media after the meeting, the Chairman of the PAC, Rana Tanveer Hussain, said that the Chairman of the NAB will have to account for the money as he is the Principal Accounting Officer of the NAB. He said that the Chairman of the NAB should not get an extension after his tenure ends.
Chairman Tanveer said that Transparency International questioned the transparency of the agreement between Habib Bank and Pakistan Post, and this matter should be investigated. The Speaker of the National Assembly had sent a message, warning not to raise the issue. He said that the agreement between HBL and the Pakistan Post Office Department (PPOD) should be thoroughly investigated, and told the media that the PAC has recovered Rs. 480 billion so far.
Source: Pro Pakistani