No action taken on Audit observations — is this Murad Saeed’s fault?

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Rana Tassaddiq Hussain

Islamabad

Could Murad Saeed’s failure to act promptly to correct deficiencies, demoralize audit staff, thereby eroding the bureacuracy’s effectiveness?
A special audit of assets of ministry of communications and its attached departments, subordinate offices and all autonomous organizations was conducted by inspecting team constituted by the Auditor General of Pakistan, Director General (Audit-Works) on the request of Murad Saeed, Federal Minister for Communications.
During the said audit the inspecting team unearthed serious mismanagement, maladministration and losses worth billons in National Highway Authority administrative affairs which remained under direct control of Pakistan Administrative (PAS Officers) 2007-2020 For example: Non-Finalization of Financial Statements of NHA for the FY-2017-2018. Non-maintenance of assets registers. Incorrect /unauthentic revaluation of NHA assets-Rs. 3,745,429.578 Million. Non-maintenance of assets register and non-inclusion of value of assets of Toll Plazas and Weigh Stations. Non-accountal of sixty four buildings as NHA owned assets worth billion of rupees. Non-accountal and non-utilization of NHA assets worth Rs. 507.011 Million. Non-accountal and utilization of four snow removal machines-Rs. 96 Million. Overstatement of assets due to duplication in plants and machinery and equipment-Rs. 66.917 Million. Inadmissible payment to the consultants-Rs. Rs. 13. 815 million. Less Charging of depreciation on bridges resulted in overstatement of assets balance sheet-Rs. 6,273.985 Million. Non-preparation of PC-IV and non-capitalization of projects-Rs. 10,226.898 Million. Non-Recovery of rent from National Highways and Motorways Police-Rs. 11,761.354 Million. Non-mutation of 66,566 kanal 3 marla land in the name of NHA. Unjustified procurement of land beyond right of way-Rs. 788.750 Million. Unjustified procurement of land beyond right of way-Rs. 60.619 Million. Unjustified extra procurement of land and non-recovery of rent or cost of 398 kanal 19 marla land. Non-issuance of land awards against 21,912 kanals on Makran Coastal Highway Project-Rs. 127.492 Million. Overstatement of land value in the financial statements-Rs. 1,282.092 Million. Unauthentic historical cost under freehold land against M-1 and M-2 Projects-Rs. 11,684.619 Million. Non-finalization of inquiry on alleged construction of mega mall on NHA right of way. Anticipated extra financial loss due to gross negligence-Rs. 615,131 Million. Mis-use of NHA owned buildings (residential buildings/rest houses) and non-realization of revenue. Un-authentic and unjustified procurement of plant and machinery-Rs. 119.156 Million. Incorrect accountal and non-utilization/disposal of assets-Rs. 184,414 Million. Incorrect accountal and non-utilization/disposal of assets-Rs. 47.158 Million. Incorrect accountal and non-utilization/disposal of assets-Rs. 23.534 Million. Office equipment without description and location-Rs. 75.115 Million. Drawing Survey and Testing Equipment without description and location-Rs. 23.101 Million. Unjustified procurement of thirty heavy road asphalts pavers against development project-Rs. 30.919 Million. Expenditure on installation of ETTM system without actual requirement/utilization-Rs. 87.369 Million. Unjustified installation of slow speed weigh in motion equipment –Rs. 160.241 Million. Unjustified procurement of five automatic infrared non-intrusive traffic counters-Rs. 59.902 Million. Irregular procurement of vehicles /assets from Revenue Contract-Rs. 110. 73 Million. Irregular purchase of seventy six vehicles from road maintenance account-Rs. 128.705 Million. Misplacement of 195 vehicles worth Million of rupees-Rs. 72.181 Million. Misplacement of 119 vehhicles worth million of rupees. Non-accountal/disposal of Rs. 93 vehicles worth million of rupees. Irregular allotment of 133 NHA vehicles. Non-accountal of twenty dumpers in NHA Assets. Non-Recovery of 14 vehicles held with NADRA on account of defunct ETEC Motorway Card Project.
That no apparent action has been taken by Murad Saeed, Minister for Communications on the audit observations so far. The above mismanagement is mainly due to placement of favorites, irrelevant and non-required officers on sensitive portfolios of NHA by the Establishment and Communications Division bulldozing departmental seniority rights in complete disregard of Supreme Court of Pakistan and Islamabad High Court specific judgments with regards to appointment of officers on deputation in NHA. The present and former Chairmen, Member (Admin), Member (Finance) are directly responsible for all reported wrongdoings, which needs to be probed by Supreme Court of Pakistan and National Accountability Bureau.
All eyes are set on Murad Saeed, Minister and his over-due action on the special audit report by punishing the guilty officers in time besides saving NHA from further losses.

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