ISLAMABAD - The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Tuesday directed the authorities concerned to recover the amounts acquired by the Foreign Office officials in account of out of merit daily, additional and travelling allowances, advances and TADAs and asked them to submit reports before the committee.
Members of the PAC met under the chairmanship of Nadeem Afzal Gondal to review the audit paras in connection with the Ministries of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and Housing, during which the members expressed their severe reservations over non-submission of the inquiry report by MOFA officials to the committee regarding out of merit sale of the Pakistan embassy building in Jakarta, Indonesia.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry official Special Secretary Alamgir Babar told the committee that a report had been finalized and would soon be produced before the committee in which the then ambassador Maj. Gen. (Retd) Mustafa Anwar was proved guilty for irregularities while selling the particular embassy building.
Babar said that the officers from the MOFA were sent abroad for their training, as the experience to teach them various languages remained unfruitful, to which Yasmin Rehman contradicted saying that many courses were available within the country for language learning and teaching.
The Public Accounts Body summoned the details of the foreign officers who were sent on language learning training abroad and the list of their expenditures was also sought.
A member of the committee Noor Alam Khan sought the reply of MOFA officials on the details of the government measures in connection with the drone strikes in the tribal regions of Pakistan, the government’s decision to contact the United Nations on the drones attacks, former–President Pervez Musharraf’s U-turn policy continuation and the discussion on Kashmir issue during the recent visit of the Indian Foreign Minister S.M Krishna. At this occasion the PAC Chairman Nadeem Afzal Gondal interfered and mentioned that a separate in-camera briefing by the MOFA would be called.
Audit officials informed the committee that some of the foreign office officials in account of advances and TADA received the amount worth Rs 30.80m out of which Rs10.60m had been recovered; where as the remaining recoverable amount was placed at Rs 20.10 m.
They also informed that those officials had taken such huge amounts in account of advances, allowances and TADAs that they refused to take pensions, and most of them had settled abroad, following which the PAC Chairman directed that without financial clearances of their dues, no MOFA official should be sent abroad.
The committee also directed the ministry concerned to recover the rest of the recoverable amount within fifteen days and to present a detailed report before the members of the committee.
It was revealed to the members of the committee that a former Pakistani envoy Rasheed Ahmed and two other officials were involved in the corruption of Rs 4.1m, while adding that Rasheed Ahmed was retired forcedly and a First Information Report (FIR) was registered against him. However they said that he was getting his salary regularly.
The committee directed officials concerned to recover the amount from the particular persons and to formulate a joint investigation team comprising of audit and foreign office officials to probe the case and to submit the report before the committee.
The PAC also sought the details of those foreign office officials who were holding dual nationality and were appointed abroad in five days. Furthermore, they also directed to recover the amounts in fifteen days that were granted to the former ambassador Salman Shah and other officials in account of daily allowances.
Audit officials also informed the committee that during the checking of the counsellor section of Pakistan’s embassy in Beijing, it was observed that 106 visa tickets were missing to which the embassy claimed that it did not receive them. The PAC directed officials concerned to fix the responsibility and to probe the scam.
The officials from audit also informed that the Ambassador to UN Mission in New York in 2005-06 Munir Akram gifted alcohol worth Rs 20.85 m for entertainment purposes. On this the foreign office officials clarified that the foreign office rules did not permit such unethical activities and recovery of the used money had been made from Munir Akram.