ISLAMABAD: Auditors have uncovered irregularities worth Rs38 million in the education department of the federal capital between 1999-2009.
This was disclosed during a meeting of a sub-committee of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Thursday. The committee was chaired by former minister for defence production Rana Tanveer Hussain. The committee discussed audit reports relating to the ministry of education and the ministry of inter-provincial coordination.
Reviewing the fees received from students of Islamabad Model Colleges, officials of the education department told the committee that Rs38 million in fees was collected only from students studying in the morning shift. This money was in turn used to pay daily-wage teachers while the grants provided by the government were saved in the colleges’ accounts.
They added that ten principals who followed this practice are now either retired or dead.
The officials said that there was no room to suspect the intention of the principals as they did not deposit this large sum in their personal accounts.
Education ministry explained that the principals carried out this practice for a noble cause.
However, since fees were no longer being collected from students, the government was filling the subsequent massive hole in revenues, the ministry said.
Further, the PAC expressed its displeasure over alleged favouritism in awarding tenders for school furniture.
Auditors said that officials had ignored a lower bid during the bidding process and it resultantly caused a loss of around Rs5.836 million to the public exchequer.
The auditors recommended conducting a departmental inquiry and filing a criminal case against the officials suspected of wrongdoing.
Meanwhile, the education ministry pointed fingers towards Mustafeen Kazmi for causing the loss, adding that if found guilty, this would not be his first offence since he has previously faced jail time over such allegations.
At this, PAC member Amir Dogar suggested that the committee file another case against Kazmi. The committee subsequently directed to launch an inquiry against him.
During the committee meeting, Capital Development Authority (CDA) Chairman and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Chief Commissioner Aamir Ali Ahmed raised the issue of 72 acres of land occupied by the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) and the construction of a host of structures on it had been pending for several years and needs to be settled as per the rules.
The CDA chief said that a number of structures, including the Gun and Country Club, the Boxing Club, baseball and hockey stadiums as well as Rehmat Hostel had been built on 72 acres of land which were not allotted to the PSB.
He, however, said that the CDA has no plans to demolish these buildings, but demanded that the civic body is paid the total value of the land.
The civic body’s chairman elaborated that as per rules, the inter-provincial coordination ministry was required to move a summary to the CDA for the regularization of the land. Once the civic authority receives the request, it will be bound to table it before its Board of Directors for a decision.
On the recommendations of the board, Ahmed said, the CDA will move a summary to the prime minister for the regularisation of the land subject to payment of the land’s value as determined by the CDA.
“The ministry is required to make a payment against the CDA land” he added.
At this, the convener of the sub-committee directed the inter-provincial coordination ministry secretary to move a summary to the quarters concerned, requesting the regularization of 72-acres of CDA land being used by the PSB.
The committee assured the ministry that government members of the committee will help in securing the PM’s approval.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 15th, 2019.
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