Saturday January 22, 2022

Rs5.24 bn irregularities in corona fund: PAC suggests Utility Stores closure

December 02, 2021
Rs5.24 bn irregularities in corona fund: PAC suggests Utility Stores closure

ISLAMABAD: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Wednesday while expressing its annoyance over the tales of corruption and sale of substandard items in the Utility Stores Corporation (USC) suggested for its closure and asked the FIA to investigate the utility stores within 10 days.

Public Accounts Committee was told that the Utility Stores Corporation has submitted the report to the Committee that no substandard items were being sold at the Utility Stores but it was proved a pack of lies as the substandard items continue to sell there.

The PAC meeting held Wednesday was chaired by its Chairman Rana Tanveer Hussain in which the audit paras of the ministry of industries and production and Utility Stores Corporation for the year 2019-20 were examined.

The Department of the Audit General of Pakistan has pointed out irregularities up to Rs5.24 billion in the expenditure of the Utility Stores Corporation from the corona fund.

PAC Chairman Rana Tanveer Hussain said a corona relief fund of Rs 1200 million was not utilised properly and irregularities of up to Rs5. 24 billion were identified in the Utility Stores Corporation in the procurement of sugar, ghee and flour. “The finance secretary had no idea what they were going to do with the Rs10 billion given to the Utility Stores,” he added.

During the meeting, the PAC chairman PAC also expressed annoyance over the distribution of the corona fund to different miniseries and said a fund of Rs1200 billion was released to deal with COVID-19 but its distribution procedure was strange as everyone gets its share from it.

He said Rs392 billion was distributed to different ministries from Corona Relief Fund and Rs40 billion irregularities were found in the Fund. “Secretary finance is incompetent, he did not know anything, Rs 10 billion was given to Utility Stores and Rs70 billion to the FBR,” he further added. He said the Utility Stores fooled the Parliament and the people. He said the most substandard ghee was being sold at the Utility Stores and corruption of millions of rupees was going on in selling and buying. He said Rs10 billion out of Rs50 billion was released to the Utility Stores from corona fund.

Kh Asif said the sale of substandard goods is being done under the nose of secretary industries and production and the reason for the failure of the country is bureaucracy. He said the NAB sought the account of foreign trips of his, spouse and children but the investigation of Utility Stores in FIA is still pending.

Referring to audit paras relating Furniture Pakistan Company in the meeting, PAC chairman said NAB chairman did not appear in the last meeting. He said the NAB director general lied to the PAC, saying that the NAB chairman was hearing the case of missing persons in Lahore, while to his information he was in Lahore but was doing something else. “We should have taken written oath from NAB DG,” he added.

Examining the audit para relating to Pakistan Furniture Company in which irregularities and corruption over Rs450 million were detected, PAC chairman asked the FIA officials that how long it would take to arrest the culprits.