Senate suggests Rs 480b circular debt probe be handed over to NAB, FIA

A sub-committee of the Senate Standing Committee of Finance that had been engaged in reviewing the soaring Rs480b circular debt has highlighted violations in the payment and has suggested referring the matter to FIA and NAB for an investigation.

A three-member subcommittee was constituted a few months ago by Senator Saleem Mandviwalla of Pakistan Peoples’ Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) to review the audit report on payment of Rs 480 billion circular debt by the incumbent government and to suggest recommendations.

A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Finance presided over by Senator Saleem Mandviwalla adopted the recommendations of the subcommittee’s report to be presented in the upcoming session of the Upper House of the Parliament for discussion and subsequent action. Senator Mohsin Aziz, the convenor of sub-committee, while talking to the media told that the recommendations of the subcommittee included recovery of Rs 60 billion for idle capacity, running some power plants at single cycle against Nepra’s approved tariff for double cycles, sales tax as well as other matters.

Earlier, submitting a report to the committee, he stated that the committee had documented a unanimous report that payment of the circular debt was made within one day after bypassing Accountant General of Pakistan Revenue (AGPR) and endorsed all the irregularities pointed out by the Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) in its audit reports.

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Chairman of the sub-committee Mohsin Aziz said the unanimous report of the sub-committee appreciated the role of the AGP for a detailed analysis of each payment and documenting the violations.

Aziz added that the committee was not convinced by the government’s statement that the payment of the circular debt was made within one day due to emergency after taking all the steps from preparation of the proposal to approval and then to transfer of the amount into the accounts.

He further stated that all the members of the committee also believed the payment could have been negotiated as it was an ongoing payment and could be delayed. The committee chairman stated that the report pointed out the wrongdoings of the people and highlighted that this would be the second report of the finance committee to be handed over to NAB and FIA for an in-depth investigation, fixing responsibility of individuals or ministries and recovery of Rs 60 billion on various accounts.

 

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