Audit finds senior MoF official’s appointment to be irregular

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ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Finance’s Economic Reforms Unit director general has been working illegally, it emerged on Monday.

Documents available with this scribe revealed that the audit department, in its audit report 2018-19, termed the appointment of MoF’s Economic Reforms Unit DG Khaqan Hassan Najeeb as “irregular and unjustified”.

The audit observed that the post was not advertised before getting the approval of the prime minister.

The former finance secretary had gotten approved the appointment of Najeeb in the Ministry of Finance on MP-I scale through a summary moved to the prime minister in 2009.

Documents revealed that the initial appointment was made for two years whereas the contract period was extended on a yearly basis with new assignments. Najeeb received a salary of Rs38.980 million for the extended period.

As per the audit report, Najeeb’s performance evaluation reports, which contain measurable performance indicators/deliverables duly approved by the Performance Evaluation Committee, were not found in the record.

According to rules, every officer incurring or authorizing expenditure from public funds should be guided by high standards of financial propriety. The expenditure should not be prima facie more than the occasion demands.

The department had also written to the Finance Division on this matter but the management did not reply.

The audit recommended that the matter may be investigated, adding that responsibility of irregularity may be fixed and post may be refilled on open merit by adopting the approved procedure.

It is pertinent to mention that the Finance Division had established Economic Reform Unit in the Ministry of Finance in September 2016 with the objective to promote private sector development, reduce the cost of doing business, improve private sector competitiveness and prepare private sector dialogue framework for regulatory reforms.

Sources said that the incumbent regime does not want to extend Najeeb’s tenure as DG, as his performance is unsatisfactory. “In addition, the unit is a waste of money as there is no proper work done there,” they added.

They claimed that Najeeb used to remain busy in other work instead of focusing on private sector development in the country.

The scribe approached Khaqan Hassan Najeeb for comments but he remained unavailable.

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