Audit finds massive irregularities in PSQCA finance dept

PSQCA Head Office Karachi deputy director finance allegedly part of corrupt officials' racket habitual of pocketing state money

ISLAMABAD: With the Pakistan Standard and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA), an attached department of Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST), under criticism for corruption cases, the Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) has found massive irregularities in the authority’s finance department.

According to the audit and inspection report on PSQCA for the year 2020-2021, proof of deposit of income tax amounting Rs93.047 million in a government account was missing. The audit was of the view that non-obtaining of the challan for tax deduction on profit is a lapse on part of the PSQCA management.

It is pertinent to mention here that the income tax ordinance requires that when a banking company or a financial institution pays any profit on a bond, certificate, debenture, security or instrument of any kind, it is to deduct tax on 15 per cent of an amount exceeding Rs0.5 million, 30pc for non-active tax payers, minus the amount of zakat, if any, paid by the recipient under the Zakat and Ushr Ordinance, 1980 (XVII of 1980), at the time the profit is paid to the recipient.

A gross profit of Rs310,158,726 income tax amounting to Rs93,047,617 at 30pc was deducted by the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) on the profit.

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In another para, the auditors identified that the finance department, while delaying reinvestment of billions had caused PSQCA a loss of Rs15.839 million. The management of delayed reinvestment of Rs2.741 billion in various branches of NBP in term deposit receipts (TDRs).

The audit while holding the the PSQCA management responsible for the loss, recommended that the matter be investigated and responsibility be fixed on the exact person(s) who committed the corruption.

The auditors also observed that the management of PSQCA headquarter in Karachi invested an amount of Rs727.256 million in TDRs of Karachi NBP High Court Branch for six months @6.55pc, while the profit on investment amounting to Rs16.672 million was not realised by the bank which is another lapse on the part of the management.

Further, the auditors observed that PSQCA has made irregular and unauthorised investments worth Rs3.145 billion in violation of the instructions of the Finance Division.

In this regard, the authority’s management at the Karachi headquarter invested a total of Rs3.145 billion in TDRs with NBP from time to time whereas the audit observed that the an investment beyond Rs10 million was made without the approval of the Ministry of Finance’s BoD.

Similarly, another investment of over Rs10 million was made in another bank, again in violation of instructions from the Finance Division. This investment was rolled over out of the main revenue account from time to time without determining the limit of working balances and surplus funds in respect of revenue.

As per complaint letters sent to the prime minister and others concerned, officials of PSQCA’s finance department including PSQCA Head Office Karachi Deputy Director Finance Syed Ali Muhammad Bukhari were allegedly involved in embezzlement of PSQCA investment funds that include employee related savings i.e. gratuity, G.P Fund, and pensions in addition to unauthorised withdrawal of the authority’s savings without fulfillment of codal formalities since 2008.

Moreover, various departmental inquiries have been pending against the accused officials for years. The complainants, who are also employees of the organisation, have appealed to the concerned ministry to conduct a forensic audit of PSQCA Investment Funds.  

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Ghulam Abbas
The writer is a member of the staff at the Islamabad Bureau. He can be reached at [email protected]

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