| GEO Pakistan|
| Audit unveils Rs 29 billion embezzlements in NHA|
| Updated at: 2106 PST, Thursday, May 06, 2010|
ISLAMABAD: The audit department of Pakistan has identified the embezzlements worth Rs 29 billion in the financial records of the National Highways Authority (NHA) during the financial year 2008-09.
The audit report made 36 observations in five categories, including irregular awards of contracts costing Rs20.7 billion, overpayment due to officials' negligence costing Rs 4.6 billion, loss to authority worth Rs 1.8 billion, mismanagement in different works costing Rs 1.24 billion and non-recovery of Rs 504 million.
The total budget of the NHA for the fiscal 2008-09 was Rs 44.7 billion and the AGP audit report exposed massive irregularities and unjustified tenders awarded to their own contractors.
The AGP report said massive amount of road contracts worth Rs 20,757 millions were awarded to the blue-eyed contractors without adopting proper tendering procedure, contrary to the rules of NHA, contractors must meet the criteria of the authority.
The report observed that due to the negligence on part of the NHA officials, the Authority suffered the overpayments of Rs 4,669 millions.
According to the report, NHA faced overpayments due to the enhancement in approved cost of works, escalation on foreign cost component, skilled labor and so on.
The report further observed that NHA suffered a loss of Rs 1,884 million due to the suspension of fine imposition at weigh stations, less collection of revenue from toll plazas, award of work without considering risk and cost, premature dismantling of rigid pavement and due to delay in finalization of reasonable assessment of rent of Kandhar quarry.
According to the audit report, NHA officials could not recover the amount of Rs 504 million, including service area charges on motorway, rent and rental charges and non-deduction cost of excavated stone.
The report identifies the mismanagement of Rs 1.24 billion in NHA accounts due to the unjustified payments, extra payments, irregular award of contracts, irregular or unauthorized appointments and unauthorized use of vehicles.
The AGP office made repeated attempts to hold a Departmental Accounts Committee meeting for settling the observations, but the NHA did not bother.