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January 8, 2015

Audit watchdog orders inquiry into Rs21m missing since 1969


January 8, 2015

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Sindh Assembly has directed the public health engineering department to conduct an inquiry and issue show-cause notices against officials of the department for a sum of Rs20.9 million pertaining to miscellaneous public works advances dating back to the year 1969.
In its meeting on Wednesday under chairman MPA Saleem Raza Jalbani for considering 21 audit paras of the Auditor General of Pakistan’s report published in 2009-10 regarding accounts of the public health engineering department.
The PAC chairman also directed the public health engineering secretary Shazia Rizvi to strictly issue directions and follow up with the subordinate field staff of who had been consistently slacking in recovering pending departmental dues.
The PAC chairman remarked at the meeting that the state of unrecovered dues pertaining to the provincial public health engineering department along with the departmental response as submitted to the PAC showed that the secretary could not exercise his authority upon subordinate field staff in getting her directions implemented regarding the maintenance of financial discipline in the department.
The PAC chairman said the Rizvi needed to follow up strictly on her orders given to the field staff to nullify the impression that officials in the department were not following her directions for maintenance of financial discipline.
He also directed the department officials provide the PAC with all the documents and communications issued to field officers related to orders and proceedings of departmental inquiry of the amount missing from public works advances so that the sub-committee concerned could decide the issue.
The observations of the PAC chairman came while discussing audit para no 13.4, included in the report of the public health engineering department showing that executive engineers of the department posted in Jacobabad, Jamshoro and Ghotki had yet to recover an

accumulative amount of Rs20.96 million as miscellaneous public works advances.
The executive engineer in Jacobabad has to recover Rs15.66 million, one in Jamshoro has to recover Rs4 million, while the executive engineer posted in Ghotki has to recover Rs1.3 million.
The written response of the department on the para stated, “As evident from the record, most of the amount in this para relates to the 1970s and 80s, beginning from the time of one unit i.e. year 1969. The amounts are misc. Public works department advance as per government policy on account of one-third expenditure to be borne by respective local councils/municipal committee whom the scheme pertains and is subsequently handed over for operation and maintenance. However the respective local councils have not yet deposited the one-third share expenditure of the completion cost of schemes. Time and again the respective local councils were requested to fulfil their obligations, but no avail. The matter was discussed in a PAC meeting held on 9th April 2002 and the committee was kind enough to settle/drop similar nature para no.6 for the year 1999-2000. Under the circumstances the PAC is requested to drop the para in question”.
Meanwhile, the PAC discussed in all 16 audit paras of public health engineering department pertaining to its accounts for financial year 2008-09, amounting to a total of Rs332.3 million, out of which six paras worth Rs108.73 million were settled, while 10 ten paras amounting to Rs222.54 million were deferred or referred to its sub-committee.
The PAC chairman informed newsmen on the occasion that the sub-committee will start working after the conclusion of ongoing session for consideration of paras earlier deferred by the PAC.

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