LAHORE - Auditor General of Pakistan Akhtar Boland Rana and Controller General Accounts of Pakistan Farah Ayub Tareen are at loggerheads over the issue of posting of the Audit and Accounts Service of Pakistan officers working in the provincial Accountant General Offices.
Until recently, the power to post and transfer officers had been exercised by the AGP, but of late, the CGA has assumed this power citing one of the provisions of Controller General Accounts Ordinance, 2001.
The AGP had posted Zahid Rasheed Rana as Accountant General of Punjab a few weeks back by giving him additional charge of the top post. In the meanwhile, the CGA also issued a notification posting Syed Ghazanfar Mehdi on the same post. The trouble started when Mr Mehdi on Friday reached the AG office to take charge from Mr Rasheed Rana who refused to relinquish the charge saying only the authority which posted him as the AG Punjab could transfer him from the post.
CGA Farah Ayub Tareen is reportedly claiming such powers under Clause 6 of the Controller General Accounts Ordinance, 2001 which reads:
“The Controller General shall have such offices at the Federal, Provincial and district levels and such officers working in these offices as may be notified for this purpose by the Federal Government and the respective Provincial Government.”
It adds, “The following accounting organisations shall work under the Controller General, namely, the Accountant General of Pakistan Revenues and its sub-offices; the Military Accountant General and its sub-offices and the Offices of the Provincial Accountants General of each Province and the offices subordinate to them.”
It also says: “The Controller General shall be the administrative head of all the offices subordinate to him with full authority for transfer and posting within his organisation.”
Sources close to Akhtar Boland Rana said that as per past practice, the AGP had been dealing with the transfer and posting matters of provincial Accountant Generals and other gazetted officers.
The sources in the AGP office, however, said that there is a lacuna in the law as who would be the authority of Audit and Accounts Service of Pakistan officers posted in the provincial AG offices, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and the federal area.
Sources in the Audit and Accounts Service of Pakistan confided that the conflict arouse with the posting of junior officer Zahid Rasheed Rana, a grade 19 officer, by Auditor General of Pakistan, Akhtar Boland Rana, on the post of Accountant General Punjab, a grade 21 seat. Zahid Rasheed Rana had been dismissed from service when he was serving in the Sales Tax in Lahore. They said that Akhtar Boland Rana reinstated the dismissed officer (Zahid Rasheed Rana) and posted him against the most important seat of the province, Accountant General Punjab. Many officers including account officers and others refused to obey junior AG Punjab Zahid Rasheed Rana as he implemented pick and choose policy to post his favourites on lucrative slots.
Newly-posted officer Controller General of Accounts of Pakistan Farah Ayub, taking notice of this situation, suspended all the orders made by the AG Punjab and ordered departmental action against AG Rasheed Rana as well. She had already insisted that the powers of the Controller General of Accounts (CGA) would not be used by Auditor General of Pakistan, Akhtar Boland Rana.
This tussle of powers continued during last regime, when Mr Junaid (now retired from service), predecessor of Farah Ayub Tareen, was the CGA. Junaid had taken the stance before Akhtar Boland Rana that as the AGs were working under his command, so he was the authority of officers working there. However, Boland Rana interpreted the law otherwise and posted his right hand as the AG Punjab.
Meanwhile, using her powers as the CGA, Mrs Tareen a couple of weeks back transferred two AGs Arif Hussain and Nasira but surprisingly Boland Rana directed the transferred AGs not to obey the orders of Mrs Tareen but they did not comply with his orders. Taking notice of it, Rana suspended them and ordered the transfer of the AG Balochistan and Punjab and posted Zahid Rasheed Rana as the new AG Punjab.
It merits mentioning that the Auditor General of Pakistan is a constitutional post with four years tenure. There is no easy way to remove the person posted as the Auditor General from service without fulfilling the constitutional requirements.