Committee to probe financial mismanagement, illegal appointments at PSQCA

Country's main body to regulate and enforce quality standards plagued by corruption allegations time and again

ISLAMABAD: Following audit reports about massive financial irregularities and illegal appointments at the Pakistan Standard and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA), the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) has constituted a committee to probe the matter.

According to documents available with Profit, MoST has constituted a two-member committee for conducting inquiry regarding financial and administrative mismanagement allegedly committed by PSQCA Deputy Director Finance Ali Muhammad Bukhari.

The allegations against Bukhari are that he got two sisters, one brother and one niece appointed in PSQCA.

The team, including MoST Chief Finance and Accounts Officer Shazad Naim and Assistant Accounts Officer (F&A) Adeel Ahmad, will visit the authority from January 3 to January 5, 2022 to conduct the inquiry. 

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Besides, it will also investigate the authenticity of the degrees of his relatives hired in PSQCA as well as alleged financial and administrative mismanagement of Bukhari himself.

It may be recalled that Profit last month had published a report regarding an audit of the PSQCA accounts wherein the Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) had 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.

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

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

The auditors had 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 at 6.55 per cent, 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, they observed that PSQCA 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 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.

 

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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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