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May 22, 2020

Finger pointed at PML-N, PPP govts for loss of Rs1000b to national kitty

Top Story

May 22, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The Debt Inquiry Commission (DIC) has submitted to Prime Minister Imran Khan its report into the use of loans of Rs24,000 billion taken during last eras of the PML-N and PPP during 2008-2018 period and raised fingers on both the previous governments by pinpointing alleged loss of almost Rs1,000 billion to national exchequer in various development projects.

The report’s findings show that in the days to come the opposition parties which are already in hot waters will have to face more music. The Commission looked into 1,000 development projects including Orange Train, BRT Peshawar, Neelum-Jhelum Hydro Power Project and projects of electricity and education. The top mandarins of Economic Affairs Division, Finance Ministry and federal and provincial ministries have been held responsible for the colossal damage amounting to Rs1,000 billion. The report also highlighted that the success rate of the development schemes initiated with the loans of World Bank and Asian Development Bank stood at 25-30 percent. The report also mentioned the role of the 13 families of top officials, bureaucrats, politicians in the important ministries including the Lahore Development Authority who played questionable role in the huge damage to the national kitty. The Commission has recommended the required actions against the responsible for inflicting the damage on kitty.

The eleven-member Debt Inquiry Commission headed by Deputy Chairman NAB Hussain Asghar submitted the report after 11 months. The officials from Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Military Intelligence (MI), Intelligence Bureau (IB), Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), FBR, Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and Finance Ministry were part of the Inquiry Commission. According to sources, a report into the utilisation of Rs24,000 billion loans attained both from external and internal resources during the 2008-2018 period has been submitted. The federal government had constituted 11 members Debt Inquiry Commission with eight ToRs on June 21, 2019. The Commission was given the task to submit its report within six months. However, the Commission headed by Hussain Asghar and its supporting staff completed the report by doing hard work even in weekly holidays apart from work in excess time of official working hours.

During the investigation, it was unfolded that the Date Act 2005 was brazenly violated. The previous two governments in just 10 years have taken the loans of Rs24,000 billion owing to which the total loans have swelled up to Rs30,840 billion in September 2018 from Rs6,690 billion. This has exposed the country to huge volume of loans. In the report, it has also been mentioned that how the huge amounts allocated for education and health projects have been diverted to other development schemes. The report has also highlighted the flagrant breaches in the K-4 project as its design and route was altered to accommodate a housing society which resulted in massive loss of Rs30 billion. With the change in design, the project of K-4 has been made no more practicable.

It has also been highlighted that most of the construction work has been washed away in various floods. Another bitter fact came to surface as the cost of M-3 Motorway has increased by 100 percent which has been made the part of the investigation report. And the Safe City projects of Islamabad and Lahore have also been probed. It has also been noted that the previous government had appointed their ‘likeminded officials’ in the Economic Affairs Division which managed huge loans for development schemes but most of them were not doable. The Inquiry Commission has also pinpointed about the kickbacks and misuse of authority in various development projects. The Commission has also mentioned that about 100 individuals are also involved in suspicious transactions with regard to various projects.

More importantly, the Commission has also managed to get the complete record of 400 loans attained through external and internal resources. About 60 officials helped the Commission in getting the record about loans managed from various external and domestic resources. The details of loans and hundreds of projects and detailed records of individuals as well as various departments and forensic audit of government accounts have been attained from about 200 departments.

The audit reports of Auditor General of Pakistan during 2008-2018 along with irregularities in the projects and involvement of many individuals are also part of the report. The report also mentioned the fake development schemes for which parliamentarians minted the public funds in big numbers. The Commission also probed into BRT Peshawar and Neelum-Jhelum hydro power project. The cost of BRT Peshawar has increased to Rs75 billion from Rs30 billion and the cost of Neelum-Jhelum project has increased from Rs85 billion to over Rs500 billion. The Commission has managed to probe into 25 projects of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources, 85 projects of Ministry of Communication, 56 project of Ports and Shipping and Railways, 285 projects of HEC (Higher Education Commission), 78 projects of Health, 203 projects of IT Ministry, 186 project of Interior Ministry and 113 of Cabinet Division.