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October 13, 2017

NAB writes to Sindh governor for implementation of recommendations


October 13, 2017

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Thursday issued an advisory in view of irregularities in financial and administrative affairs of the province's public sector universities.

In a letter to the Sindh governor’s principal secretary, NAB Additional Director (Staff) Shafqat Mehmood said since the government-run varsities were under the administrative control of the Sindh governor, he was requested to ensure implementation of recommendations drawn up in light of investigations into financial and administrative affairs of the province's government-run universities.

The officer, in his letter, informed the governor that the same irregularities found in the affairs of the University of Karachi (KU) were prevalent in other universities of Sindh. “In order to take corrective measures, following recommendations have been formulated and henceforth conveyed u/s 33 (C) of NAO 1999 for dissemination to respective Vice Chancellors,” the letter states. 

As per the advisory, the payment of ‘leave encashment’ on an yearly basis to all employees should be stopped as it is an unauthorised and irregular payment in light of the government's financial rules. “Leave encashment is only for retiring employees and only basic salary of 12 months of the employee concerned is paid,” it states.

Payments of overtime to officers' grade 17 and above may be stopped immediately as payment of overtime to employees' grade 17 and above is irregular and against the government rules, the advisory added. 

“Overtime may be given to employees from grade 16 and below as prescribed the under relevant rules,” it said, adding that overtime payments to employees may be made as per the prescribed government rates after fair calculation of the workload of staff having appropriate attendance mechanism.

Appropriate mechanism of funds management may be established, while inflow and outflow of university fund must be recorded at one place for audit, it added. The resident auditor may be appointed as per the University Act since their absence had adversely affected transparency in financial matters, the advisory said. 

“All the bank accounts of universities, including contingency bank accounts of the departments, may be audited on a regular basis. No payments may be made without budget provision as per the University Act.” It also recommended producing annual statement of accounts (financial statements) every year as per the University Act.

“It has been found that the monthly amount deducted from employees on account of the provident fund had not been deposited well in-time into the provident fund account. The provident fund must not be utilised for any other purposes except the one it is intended for.”

The subject amount deducted from salaries of the employees must be deposited in the provident fund account well in time, it said, adding the provident fund account must be used as per the rules and regulations of the University Act and the Provident Fund Act 1925.

“A mechanism of internal audit and financial controls may be strengthened and made independent. As per the Government Financial Rules, no amount should be left outstanding without sufficient reasons and orders. All outstanding amounts may be recovered from all defaulters.”

All the SPPRA rules and procedures must be followed in procurement and other relevant activities as even autonomous bodies established, run, controlled and managed by the government were bound to adhere to the SPPRA rules, the advisory said. 

“Multiple payments at one time like honorarium and overtime to an employee may be stopped except pay and allowances admissible. All commercial activities may be auctioned to fetch the highest revenues for the institution. Amount of rent, utility and other charges from commercial units may be recovered well in time and must be audited as it was found out that many commercial units do not properly pay electricity, gas, water charges and even rent for last few years.”

It said all the commercial units may have separate electric and gas meters installed directly from the suppliers. “Commercial units may be allowed to work after following the SPRRA rules and as per approval of the competent authority. Separate electricity meters may be installed at residential quarters of the university as it was found out that a huge amount is being spent on utilities. House maintenance charges may be deducted from the salaries of the allottees of residential quarters as per the M/o Housing & Works rules.”

It said all illegally occupied residential quarters may be vacated and utilised in transparent manner. “Necessary actions may be taken against all illegal and unauthorised construction made on university land and for removal of the encroachment.”

It said appointments in all grades must be done through advertisement and in the light of judgments. “Human resources mix may be evaluated based on the number of permanent/contract/daily wages employment to save retirement and other costs.”

The faculty ratio may be evaluated for appropriate recruitments/promotions and conduct of the classes and it should be as per the defined standards, the advisory said, adding that appointment of retired employees in violation of the government rules must be stopped.

“Recruitment in all grades (BPS) may be done as per sanctioned posts after proper advertisement and procedure as it was found out that many employees have been appointed in grades 1 to 16 without giving advertisements. Postings, placements, promotions and transfers may be made as per the qualifications in line with the HEC requirement and as per the prescribed rules and regulations. Award of higher grades to non-teaching employees on the basis of time pay scale should be as per the prescribed procedure.”

It said ad hoc and temporary appointments may be advertised and the same procedure may be followed as laid down for initial appointments. “Malpractices in appointments, promotions and post adjustment should be avoided by considering only deserving candidates with pre-requisite qualification and experience after following the prescribed procedure.”

The practice of authorising the joining of employees from back dates should be stopped as it is against the government financial rules, it said, adding that employees appointed on higher grades/posts through ‘Assign to Work’ practice should be discontinued as there is no such provision in the rules.

“Downgrade existing posts, wherever BPS is higher than the government departments. Individuals may not be promoted only by virtue of posting and placement against up-gradated posts. Representative of the finance department may be included or invited in all the committees, including the syndicate and senate.”

It said degrees of all the employees should be verified before induction and degrees of employees in service may also be verified. “Non-core functions such as transport, security, testing, janitorial and printing services may be outsourced. University as an autonomous body should not frame its rules contradictory to the government rules.”

It said there should be a proper attendance mechanism for all teaching and non-teaching employees, while the teaching staff may not be allowed to teach/work in other varsities and institutes during the university working hours. The Model University Ordinance of HEC may be adopted.”

It said job description of each employee must be well defined. “The inventory management practice may be adopted for all the resources of a university. Automation and information systems may be introduced for smooth functioning of finance and academic affairs.”

All the agreements made with different bodies and units must be thoroughly vetted by the appropriate forum and with the approval of the competent authority, it said, adding that all original agreements may be kept in custody of the appropriate body and forums.