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April 8, 2021

PAC annoyed at absence of NAB chairman

National

April 8, 2021

ISLAMABAD: The Public Accounts Committee expressed its strong annoyance over the absence of Chairman NAB Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal from the proceedings and observed if the chairman considers himself a sacred cow and above the law.

The Chairman, Rana Tanveer Hussain, presided over the meeting of the Public Accounts Committee here on Wednesday. The PAC not only expressed its displeasure over the absence of chairman NAB and secretary Federal Service Commission for not attending the meetings, but also at different ministries for not holding the Departmental Accounting Committee meetings. It decided to write letters of displeasure against all those secretaries who are avoiding to attend the Public Accounts Committee meetings.

Expressing its outrage over chairman NAB for not appearing before the PAC, the committee members remarked that the chairman NAB scrutinizes the accounts of politicians but does not allow NAB to be held accountable to the parliament. The Member PAC, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, remarked that if the chairman NAB does not want to appear before the PAC, it would be better that he resigns. The chairman PAC said it is not appropriate for the chairman NAB to prevent parliamentary oversight of NAB. Rana Tanveer Hussain said the he should provide us a detailed account of NAB’s entire proceedings.

Rana Tanveer Hussain also expressed his strong annoyance with DG Federal Service Commission and Director Finance for not appearing before the PAC and instead sending officers below the rank of secretaries. He directed them to ensure they appear before the PAC.

Meanwhile, examining the audit paras of the Petroleum Division, PAC member Shaikh Rohale Asghar asked why the gas supply of the departments defaulting on payment of bills was not disconnected. Asghar also sought the procedure of appointment of heads of the gas companies as their salaries were higher than those who appointed them. Asghar said the salary of MD of SNGPL is Rs6.8 million and no one knows the justification of such a salary package. The PAC also sought the details of the salaries of heads of gas companies.

Earlier, briefing the committee, Secretary Petroleum Division said different petroleum companies have defaulted on payment of Rs349 billion in the head of Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC). The committee was told that the SNGPL has to recover Rs68 billion on account of defaulted payments and SSGC Rs159 billion. The Marri Gas was also defaulter of Rs119 billion, it was told.

The Chairman PAC, Rana Tanveer Hussain, said the recoveries of GIDC were pending because of long stay orders from the courts despite the Supreme Court’s directions that it should not be over six months. He said that defaulting companies have hired renowned lawyers, while the government pleads its cases through assistant attorney general.