Commission to probe unauthorised govt expenditures in last 10 years

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ISLAMABAD: The federal government has empowered the debt inquiry commission to look into the unauthorised expenditures on the formation of camp offices, deployment of personal security, unnecessary foreign visits, unjustified use of official airplane and other public resources by families of former heads of state and government institutions in the last ten years (2008 to 2018).

According to a notification issued by the Cabinet Division, the federal government has added TORs in the already issued notification (June 27, 2019) with regard to an inquiry into unauthorized government expenditures during 2008 to 2018.

Earlier, the government had authorised debt inquiry commission to determine the significance of major infrastructure or public sector development works conducted from the year 2008 and commensurate them with the increase in public debt from Rs6,690 billion to Rs30,846 billion till September 2018.

In addition to this, the government had given the commission powers to inquire/investigate the award or implementation of any contract or project and whether any debt was taken for a particular project and the same was then spent on the corresponding project, or, otherwise.

Furthermore, the TORs included: “Whether any public contract was artificially inflated to facilitate kickbacks? If so, in whose favour? Whether any holders or public office or their spouses, children and any persons connected to them expended any public funds to meet personal or private expenditures, beyond what has been permitted under the law and rules.

“Whether the cap prescribed under the Fiscal Responsibility and Debt Limitation Act, 2005 has been busted? If so, the reasons and justifications thereof?

“Whether the amendments, if any, in the 2005 act were in keeping with the spirit of Article 166 of the Constitution, or, otherwise?”

In addition to this, TORs stated that the debt commission will conduct forensic and special audits through any reputed international or local auditor or set of auditors in order to determine the real nature, scope and volume of a case.

Besides this, the commission will find the trail of the investments or expenditures of the federal government, or any part thereof, from February 2008 to September 2018.

The commission will also fix responsibility in respect of the above, and to refer any irregularity or illegality, found for investigation and prosecution to relevant agency/department within six months.

As per the sources, the commission is holding its meetings under the chair of Hussain Asghar and it is summoning different people, besides getting regular briefings from finance and other ministries.

The finance ministry officials informed the commission that successive governments had taken around Rs28 trillion loan from domestic and foreign banks as well as lending organisations, they added.

Around Rs18 trillion loan was borrowed from domestic banks while Rs10 trillion from foreign sources, the officials briefed.

Sources said that commission might summon former prime ministers as well as foreign ministries in upcoming months to ascertain as to why they had borrowed the huge loans.

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