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April 8, 2021

Govt approves hiring of private firms for SOEs’ forensic audit

Business

April 8, 2021

ISLAMABAD: The government on Wednesday approved hiring of private firms for forensic audit of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and other state-owned enterprises to find out causes of their losses and fix responsibilities.

The decision was taken during a meeting of the cabinet committee on state-owned enterprises, presided over Minister for Finance, Revenue, Industries and Production Hammad Azhar. Minister for Privatisation Mian Soomro, Adviser to the Prime Minister for Commerce Razak Dawood, Adviser to the Prime Minister for Institutional Reforms and Austerity Ishrat Hussain and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Revenue Waqar Masood also participated in the meeting. After due deliberation, the committee approved the revised terms of reference (TORs) for forensic audit of the state-owned enterprises to be followed by the Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) office as well as private audit firms to be hired.

The meeting was informed a special audit of the Pakistan International Airlines (including its subsidiaries) was conducted by the Auditor General of Pakistan. Therefore, it was recommended that forensic audit of the PIA may be carried out through a well-reputed private sector firm after following procurement rules. The committee considered and approved the proposal.

The committee stressed to exercise due diligence and complete the process of forensic audit at the earliest to expedite the process of bringing reforms in state-owned enterprises.

Finance division presented the summary before the committee regarding approval of terms of reference for forensic audit of the state-owned enterprises in accordance with the earlier decision of the committee in January. The secretary finance presented revised TORs for forensic audit by the AGP Office and private audit firms to identify gaps with a clear focus on suggesting improved procedures for quality assurance and cost minimization.

The forensic audit will also identify circumstances leading to losses incurred by SOEs, besides identifying suspicious and fraudulent transactions (if any) for fixing responsibility.