Thursday August 11, 2022

If suppl grant not approved by NA, Rs3.6 bn to be received from NAB employees, says PAC

December 08, 2021
If suppl grant not approved by NA, Rs3.6 bn to be received from NAB employees, says PAC

ISLAMABAD: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and finance ministry to get regularised the supplementary grant of Rs3.60 billion of the Bureau from the National Assembly within one month.

PAC Chairman Rana Tanveer Hussain warned that if the approval of the supplementary grant was not taken from the National Assembly in a month, the amount would be received from the NAB employees.

The PAC meeting was held with Rana Tanveer in the chair in which the accounts and audit paras of NAB for the financial year 2018-19 were examined. The PAC rejected the proposal of the Controller General Accounts for settling the audit objections.

The PAC decided to hold in-camera meeting of the committee on Jan 6, 2022 for the briefing of the NAB chairman about recoveries made by the Bureau. Javed Iqbal appeared before the PAC being the principal accounting officer of NAB as the PAC summoned him last month to appear before the committee for the audit paras of NAB.

The committee asked the NAB chairman to provide details of the total amount recovered by the Bureau in an in-camera meeting of the PAC. He was also asked to provide details be given that how much stolen money recovered, how much defaulted amount was recovered and also how much amount was recovered from the housing societies.

On appearance of Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal before the PAC, Rana Tanveer Hussain said “NAB chairman is respectable for us but he took long time to come to the PAC”. Javed Iqbal sought permission to say something, but the PAC chairman asked him to listen to him first. He said that the NAB chairman had being informing the media about Bureau’s performance, and he should also take the PAC into confidence on the issue. “You are a former judge and people have expectation from you. If you present its performance in the parliament, you will get more appreciation,” he said.

The NAB chairman replied that Parliament is a supreme institution of the country and he did not want to say what he said in support of Parliament in the high seats of the judiciary. “I have been working from home for some time due to eye surgery and was grateful that the committee called me and I abide by the law and whenever asked to come I will come,” he said.

He said he was the NAB chairman but not a Mughal king or above the law. He said his institution was always ready for accountability. A PAC member Noor Alam Khan asked the NAB chairman how many politicians and bureaucrats had been prosecuted thus far, and whether the assets of the NAB officials were checked before and after the inquiries. “And how many military personnel were investigated,” Noor Alam asked the NAB chairman.

Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal said he could answer all those questions, but that was not on the agenda. While examining the NAB audit para relating of spending unauthorised amount, the audit officials told the committee that NAB spent Rs380 million without approval of the finance ministry.

The NAB chief replied that the amount was used for raising salaries of the NAB employees and it was approved in the last quarter before the end of the financial year. The PAC chairman told AGPR officials that if there was an unauthorised expenditure, then it was recoverable from them. How did the department of the AGPR asked to settle it. “Isn't it unauthorised as the AGPR officials never ask about any ministry to settle it except for NAB. You are saying settle the supplementary grant,” he asked. The Controller General of Accounts said that it was a recommendation of the Departmental Accounting Committee. PAC member Sherry Rehman said the recommendation of DAC did not come without recommendation. Rana Tanveer said the unauthorised supplementary grant was a more serious issue. The NAB officials told the committee that the increase in salaries this year was with the approval of the government, and payments were made through the AGPR. Committee member Naveed Qamar said that it had been proved that no approval had been sought from the parliament. “There is no other way but to get the approval from the parliament,” he said.

Senator Talha Mahmood asked what was the percentage increase in salaries. The NAB chairman said salaries of dozens of institutions had increased by more than 100% while salary had been revised after 18 years since NAB was formed in 2000. The NAB chairman said that 120 references had been filed on the cases referred by the PAC in four years.