"ISLAMABAD: Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) Buland Akhtar Rana on Thursday (January 3) told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that he had ordered to conduct an inquiry regarding an audit report which mentioned that Minister for Railways had been using 51 official vehicles.
“I saw a report on electronic media the other day which made a reference to an audit report that 51 vehicles were being used by Minister for Railways Ghulam Ahmed Bilour so he has asked his auditors to verify this report,” he told the PAC which met Thursday with its head Nadeem Afzal Gondal in the chair.
The issue cropped up during the meeting when the audit paras relating to unauthorised use of vehicles by former federal minister for health Naseer Khan and caretaker minister for health Ijaz Rahim was taken up.
The AGP told the committee that he had directed the auditors to check how this audit para was made. PAC chairman observed how the audit reports were leaked before presentation before the PAC.
On the issue of recoveries from former health ministers, PAC chairman directed the cabinet division to contact them for their comments before proceeding to further action. “We cannot condemn anyone unheard,” the PAC chairman remarked.
The audit officials told the PAC, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH) letter dated Jan 16, 2010, Toyota Land Cruiser remained in the use of former federal health minister from June 2007 to May 2008 and also remained in use of caretaker federal health minister from Nov 15, 2007 to May 12, 2008.
According to audit report, an amount of Rs.188, 395 is recoverable from both the former federal ministers that includes an amount of Rs.56, 536 from former health minister Naseer Khan and Rs.131, 859 from former caretaker health minister Ijaz Rahim.
The auditors also recommended that disciplinary action should be taken against the officers who provided the vehicles to the former health ministers. Meanwhile, the PAC that took the audit paras relating to Ministry of Housing and Works for the fiscal year 2006-07 expressed its dissatisfaction over the attitude of the top officials of the ministry as they did not comply with its previous directives.
Even Chairman PAC Nadeem Afzal seemed perturbed over the non-compliance of the previous orders of the committee by the officials of the Ministry of Housing and Works and said if he had executive powers, he could seek the resignations from all the top officials of the ministry. “It’s time that the live coverage of the PAC should be allowed so that people themselves may judge the performance of the bureaucrats,”he added.
He also directed the PAC secretariat to write to the National Assembly Secretariat for the permission of the live coverage of the PAC proceedings. “Throughout the world there is practice that PAC proceedings get live coverage,” he remarked.
Nadeem Afzal also directed the PAC to prepare a list of those Principal Accounting Officers who failed to comply with the directives of the PAC for the audit paras from the year 2001 to 2006 so that it could be made part of the committee report that would be presented to the National Assembly."
Link to the news: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-152406-Railways-minister-using-51-official-vehicles
[The News, January 4, 2012]