‘Appointment of Finance Division officer as AGPs external auditor poses conflict of interest’

ISLAMABAD: The Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) on Wednesday said that it never never declined its audit, however the audit has to be conducted by an independent officer as prescribed in the law.

Earlier, some officers of Pakistan Audit and Accounts Service had filed a writ petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) and challenged the amendment of Auditor General’s Ordinance, 2001 in Finance Act, 2015.

The petitioners told the court that appointment of an officer of the Finance Division as external auditor of AGP involves conflict of interest after which the court issued a prohibitive order.

According to reports, AGP has sent a reply to the Finance Division pertaining to an audit of the department saying that its audit has to be conducted by an independent officer as prescribed in the law.

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The AGP also asked the Finance Division to avoid impolite language in any communication in the future.

The AGP believes in the accountability of public institutions and has always expressed its willingness to get its sanctions to expenditure audited as required under section 19A of the AGP Ordinance, 2001, the letter read.

The letter further stated that the interpretation of the constitutional petition pertaining to the legal status of AGP offered by the Law Division is not consistent with the constitution.

The AGP is not governed under the provisions of Article 170 (2) of the constitution. It is Section 19 A of the 2001 ordinance which provides for audit of sanctions accorded by AGP and therefore, the audit has to be carried out as per the spirit and within the parameters as contained in Section 19 A, the letter said adding that the AGP is not a part of the federal government as defined in Chapter 3 of the constitution.

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Shahzad Paracha
The writer is a member of Pakistan Today's Islamabad bureau. He can be reached at [email protected]

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