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September 23, 2020

Irregularities of Rs2.54b detected in audit report of Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan

Peshawar

September 23, 2020

PESHAWAR: Serious irregularities of Rs 2.54 billion have been detected in 2017/18 audit report of the Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan.

Financial losses occurred due to non-adherence to rules, regulations and financial mismanagement. Advance audit paras have identified illegal expenditure, fictitious payments, unavailability of documentary records and receipts, non-deduction of GST and financial indiscipline.

Governor Shah Farman, who is also the chancellor of the university, when contacted, said the Universities Act was being amended and teachers should not be appointed to administrative posts. Professionals should be appointed to administrative positions so that they can rectify these irregularities. “Universities submit their budgets for approval after laps of all most three years, although early approval of the budget is required before expenditures, which includes details of all expenditures and revenues, but they send a one-line budget for approval to the governor”, he said

He said that he fully supports strict audit as irregularities damage the national exchequer and the universities should improve financial management so that funds can be spent in a better way. Director Finance AWKUM Faizan Malik told this scribe that recoveries process has been initiated from companies and individuals according to audit objections and several paras are settled in Departmental Account Committee subject to complete recovery and verification of record.

According to audit report, scrutiny of the record revealed that the posts were unlawfully drawn in excess than the actual sanctioned posts of the university as such the government sustained loss of Rs 4.175 million. The government was deprived of Rs 257.45 million by not collecting the outstanding arrears from students of various departments. Vice Chancellor Dr Khurshid Khan was illegally allotted university guesthouse in Islamabad. A sum of Rs 1.012 million was incurred on account of guesthouse during 2017-18, which is unjustified and also recurring loss to government. A security officer was appointed on regular post (BPS-16) without any advertisement and further upgraded to BPS-17, having FA qualification. The university rules were not followed and expenditure of Rs 0.796 million was illegally drawn. The substandard construction of 96 residential flats caused huge damage to the national exchequer. The audit team inspected the flats whose floor and tiles were damaged. The doors of the flats were also broken while other essential facilities were also missing. Despite the substandard work, the construction of the flats could not be completed within the stipulated time, which caused loss of Rs 6.351 million to the national exchequer. In addition, the payment of Rs 944,820 to the consultant was paid without approval. Irregular expenditure of Rs 1,485.87 million in variation in cashbook and utilisation made receipts and expenditures unauthentic, so this amount was not audited. Fifty officials were illegally paid Rs 2.013 million on account of conveyance allowance, having official houses within the premises of university. Fifty-one teachers of the university were allotted rooms in the hostel on nominal rent of Rs 3,000 per month and they were not entitled to conveyance allowance, but the university itself sustained the government loss of Rs 3.034 million. Interestingly, the university was closed from August 1, 2017 to September 9, 2017, but the teachers were paid Rs 1.312 million under the head of conveyance allowance. In addition, Rs 1,131.254 billion were drawn on account of salaries and allowances paid to employees; however, it was observed that there is variation in each month, resulting in unauthentic expenditure of Rs 1.98 million.

An amount of Rs 6 million was drawn as compensatory allowance for 10 months. Supporting documents were not produced for verification, causing a loss of Rs 6 million to the national exchequer. The university made illegal payments to the teachers on account of additional charge allowance which caused a loss of Rs 1.838 million. A sum of Rs 10.447 was paid to different departments for research, however, detail accounts and supporting document were not produced to audit team. The university canteen, cafes and shops were rented out, but the management did not collect the rent, which caused a loss of Rs 2.94 million to the national exchequer. The university administration paid Rs 1.363 million on photocopies instead of original receipts to Chitral Campus. The university installed a power plant and paid Rs 26.051 million to the Pesco, but the same was neither functional nor NOC of the Nepra was obtained. In addition, the university is paying the electricity bills of two canteens, 11 shops and hostels. The government sustained loss of more than Rs 26.051 per annum. The university awarded a tender in 2014 for the installation and purchase of an IT system in which three companies participated. Interestingly, two companies were not technically eligible for the tenders. Technically qualified singly company was declared successful, violating the procedure. The committee members did not even signed the technical evaluation report. The same company participated in the financial bidding and Rs 338.276 million were quoted, which was over and above from the PC-1 of Rs 202.214 million. However, the contract was awarded to the same company and cost of the project was increased to Rs 136.152 million. The government sustained loss of 67.36 per cent above the estimated cost. The university granted Rs 342.848 million to various officials for the purchase of different items, but it was observed that advances neither utilised nor returned to the university. The university administration deducted Rs 5.869 million income tax from the pay bills of the employees, but not deposited in the public account. The university deducted Rs 2.476 million in income tax from suppliers, but did not deposit it in the national treasury. The university paid an amount of Rs 19.794 million and Rs 6.351 million to different suppliers, but the GST amount was not deducted and deposited in the government account.

Apart from other vehicles, five vehicles have been kept in the pool which has no justification. Petrol worth Rs 15.848 million was purchased on unverified receipts for 119 vehicles while there is no record in the vehicle logbook. A sum of Rs 1.812 million was drawn for the repair of various vehicles but serious irregularities were found in record. On expiry of contract, the university purchased petrol from the private petrol pump which is 18km away, which cost the exchequer an additional cost of Rs 2.040 million.

The university made a factious payment of Rs 1.628 million for the supply of uniforms. However, the essential formalities were not fulfilled which shows that the supply was either not made or after laps of one year and four months. Stock was not checked and verified by inspection team. The university paid Rs 3.5 and Rs 1.1798 million in advance for civil works to the Director Works but adjustment vouchers and work completion record was not available for verification.