KARACHI-The Sindh Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Wednesday expressed doubts over the documentary proofs shown by the Irrigation Department to the audit department of their expenditures involving Rs4.236 billion spent during financial years of 2006-07 to 2008-09.
The accountability body, which met with its chairman Sardar Jam Tamchi Unar in the chair at Sindh Assembly’s committee room, discussed audit report of the provincial irrigation department for three financial years of 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2008-09.
The audit report of provincial department involved amount of Rs4.236 billion pertaining to the non-recovery of water charges, non-credited of lapsed amount, non-crediting of revenue into government account, irregular payments, excessive expenditures, outstanding and advance amount payable by the consultants and other heads.
The public accounts committee as well as officials of the audit department labelled the structure of working paper for meeting, prepared by the irrigation department, as full with flaws and confusing because each one of them faced difficulty in understanding it. Even, PAC chairman Jam Tamachi Unar and his committee’s members also criticised the audit department officials for not brining the documentary proofs and records in the meeting. On the query of the PAC members, DG Audit Department, Ghulam Akbar Soho informed the meeting that irrigation department officials presented old record/vouchers in support of expenditures.
Irrigation Department secretary Babar Hussain Effendi told the meeting that all the documentary proofs of expenditures were available with his department, which was presented before the audit team during the audit of funds.
He requested the PAC to settle/approve the audit paras which have been verified by the audit department in the audit report. But PAC chairman did not entertain the request due to lack of availability of the vouchers and other records with the audit department in the meeting and observed that decision will be taken after review by the two-member committee in this regard. The PAC chairman directed his staff to write a letter to the chief minister, governor, irrigation minister and inform them about lack of coordination between the audit and irrigation department.
The DG Audit Department said that the officials had produced old and torn vouchers of expenditures to show that all old records are available with them.
Following the criticism of the audit department’s official, a chief engineer of the irrigation department countered the allegations and said that they produced all the records but sometimes the audit team managed to get disappear some of the receipts. Eventually, the DG Audit Department declared the criticism from the irrigation department as ‘open war’ and said that now every thing will be unveiled in the meetings.
Later, the PAC chairman told the media that a two-member committee comprising MPAs Mujadid Isran and Aamir Moin Prizada has been formed, which will review the audit paras verified by the audit department and will look into the authenticity of the documentary proofs/vouchers of expenditures of irrigation department. The committee will submit its report before the Eid-ul-Fitr.
Meanwhile, PAC member Haji Mujadid Isran while expressing serious concerns over the verification process of the audit paras said that how it was possible that department produced vouchers, NOCs and other relevant proofs of amount spent four five years earlier.
Meanwhile, during the discussion on the audit paras, the secretary irrigation department told the meeting that his department has sent a summary to the chief minister through finance department, requesting for waiving off the advances/dues to the employees who died as well as adjustment of outstanding amount through deduction from the provincial departments and local governments payable by them on account of water charges to the irrigation.
However, the deputy secretary of the finance department, who represented the department in the meeting, told the PAC that his department had not entertained the summary of the irrigation department as it was not logical to deduct the amount from the provincial department’s budget. Finance Department opined that if PAC directed for deductions, the finance department would endorse the summary and moved to the chief ministry.
The audit paras of the irrigation department pertained to Rs589.53 million of non-adjustment/non recovery of miscellaneous public work advances, non-recovery of water charges of Rs270.026 million, non-credited of lapsed deposits of Rs140.500 million into government accounts, non-account of stores articles worth Rs51.831 million, irregular payment of Rs18.416 million on account of additional cartage of material, non recovery of stamp duty of Rs579 million, non-production of records of Rs214.458 million, unjustified excess payment of Rs142.382 million to consultants and other expenditures spent by the irrigation department.