Sun, 02 Oct 2022

Islamabad [Pakistan], August 9 (ANI): The Establishment Division of the government of Pakistan is exposed to poor administration, and irregular practices concerning financial matters alongside violation of its own policies, stated a forensic audit report of the arm released recently.

The audit was initially ordered by former prime minister Imran Khan in March, however, it got completed by the Auditor General for Pakistan recently when he submitted the report to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, reported Dawn.

The audit report highlighted that the national exchequer suffered a loss of Rs 48 million as senior officials of the Establishment Division minted money through fictitious purchase of stationery.

The exercise violated the General Financial Rules, which stated that the purchase must be made in the most economical manner in accordance with the definite requirement of the public service, the audit report added.

The Establishment Division is an administrative arm of the government of Pakistan that manages bureaucracy. It also serves as a management consultant for the federal government.

A previous report had observed that 'during the financial year 2018-19, there was a substantial slump in expenditure on purchase of stationery,' which the audit held as a serious violation of the General Financial Rules.

However, the Establishment Division's section officer, who raised the issue, was posted out and the Chief Finance Officer Mohammad Afzal who confirmed the financial irregularity was also transferred from the division.

As per Dawn, the inquiry into the matter has been pending since 2019, while the inquiry officer is proceeding abroad on a scholarship.

The latest forensic audit points out several reasons for this financial misappropriation, including weak internal and administrative controls, partial implementation of E-Office applications, non-observance of rotation policy by the Establishment Division caused long-time stay of officers/officials in same posts, procurement of stationery, computer stationery and other store items on the basis of unrealistic demand and unauthorised purchase of stationery and other store items by a section officer, as per the report by Dawn.

The audit also recommends that the division must come up with a yearly procurement plan to end such financial irregularities on an immediate basis.

Earlier, an audit report pointed out that the Establishment Division itself has been violating the rules governing the transfer and posting of civil servants on deputation.

The auditors also pointed out that several officers working at the division on deputation have overstayed their deputation period well over the extended five-year limit. These officers include those from provincial education departments, ex-cadre and non-cadre officials and, also a veterinary doctor from Balochistan.

"The normal period of deputation for all categories of government servants would be three years. This would be extendable by two years with the prior approval of the competent authority," the report stated citing the Establishment Division rules.

If a person is on deputation to a government organisation and has fulfilled the basic tenure of five years, he must revert or be reverted by the borrowing office to his lending organisation otherwise, the audit offices concerned shall not make payment of salary and allowances to him beyond the date of expiry of five years, as per the rules, the report added. (ANI)

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