| GEO Pakistan|
| PAC takes exception to violations of financial rules by NHA|
| Updated at: 0248 PST, Wednesday, November 05, 2008|
ISLAMABAD: The Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly on Tuesday took strong exception to the violations of financial rules by the National Highway Authority (NHA).
The PAC which met here with its Chairman Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan in the chair, was examining the audit reports related to Ministry of Communications for the years 2006-07 and 2005-06.
The PAC also issued directions to all ministries to hold meetings of Departmental Accounts Committees at least once a month irrespective of the PAC meeting schedule.
"The regular meetings of the DACs would not only help clear the backlog but also prove helpful in improving governance", said Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.
Earlier, Auditor General Tanveer Ali Agha pointed out that DAC meetings are not held and even if they are held their directions are not implemented. "Not holding of DAC meetings was bad but not implementing their directions was worst", he added. While examining an audit para about non-receipt of Rs 150 million from NHA by National Highways and Motorway Police (NH&MP) the PAC directed the amount should be returned within one week.
It also observed that it was one of the examples of bad governance as both departments were under Ministry of Communications. The NH&MP had paid the amount to the NHA in 2006 for purchase of land but later CDWP meeting decided that the same amount be returned to Motorway Police. The PAC directed Secretary Communications to hold inquiry and fix responsibility for this negligence within one week.
While examining audit paras about NHA, the PAC Chairman formed a special committee of the main committee comprising Zahid Hamid (convener) Ahmed Yar Harraj, Asia Nasir, Rana Mehmoodul Hassan. The special committee will meet after one month to monitor compliance of PAC and DAC decisions on various audit paras.
To a para about loss of Rs 197.7 million in reducing lanes of Pindi Bhattian-Faisalabad Motorway (M-3) the PAC said that precious national money was buried on the direction of the then Chief Executive of the country. Ch Nisar said that the NHA should have told the CE that it was not in national interest to convert the M-3 into four lanes.
Chaudhry Nisar Ali said that the PAC would never allow anybody to flout financial discipline. He said that NHA has Rs 37 bn development budget and it should improve its internal audit system. He also said that DAC was responsible for delay in settlement of various audit paras.
The PAC expressed it displeasure over unauthorized expenditure due to award of contract of construction of regional office for NHA in Karachi costing Rs 28.2 million without tendering process. The PAC directed the Secretary to fix responsibility and suspend persons responsible for flouting financial rules within seven days.
While examining a para about purchase of imported vehicles despite ban, the PAC asked the Principal Accounts Officer to fix responsibility for this irregularity in 7 days. Members of the PAC Raiz Pirzada, Zahid Hamid, Hamid Raza Harraj, Anisa Nasir,Yasmeen Rehman, Sardar Bahadur Khan Sehar, Rana Masoodul Hassan and Khawaja Asif, MNAs also attended the meeting.
Senior officers of Ministry of Communications, NHA, Ministry of Finance and Auditor General of Pakistan were also present during the meeting.