In an audit undertaken by the Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP), massive discrepancies have come to light in regard to the first and second edition of Pakistan Super League (PSL).
According to a local media outlet, a number of major contracts were awarded without publishing a proper call for tenders during the first two seasons of PSL. If the contracts were given by following the correct procedures, the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) financial gains would have improved considerably.
Rumours are also circulating that many appointments on important positions were based on favouritism while the production and ticketing matters were not handled efficiently.
The selections of Marketing Director (MD) Naila Bhatti and International Cricket Operations (ICO) General Manager (GM) Usman Wahla were specifically mentioned. The audit raised questions over their appointments as far more qualified individuals were available to take up those roles.
It must be noted that Naila Bhatti enjoyed a close relationship with former PCB Chairman Najam Sethi and was appointed as a director despite holding only a bachelor’s degree which is against the rules and regulations of the board.
Though unconfirmed yet, it is also being stated that Naila bid farewell to her colleagues on the same day on which Sethi’s resignation was tendered in.
The audit points out unnecessary expenses during the local and foreign visits made by board officials whereas there were also reservations over salaries and bonuses given to certain employees. The massive amounts spent on organising opening ceremonies were another major cause of concern.
Meanwhile, Director of PCB’s security and Anti-corruption unit Col (r) Mohammad Azam Khan’s failure to get No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Pakistan Army was also cited as a reason for dissent.
The audit report has been sent to the Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC). The PCB, AGP and IPC are expected to convene a meeting to discuss the details of the issue soon.
Earlier, Sethi had come under fire for not carrying out the PSL audit despite being asked by a National Assembly Committee (NAC) to submit a detailed report regarding the revenues and expenses of the league. The board had only filed a two-page report in response to committee’s request.
Furthermore, the federal government is keen on making this report public as it wants to communicate the facts about PSL to the entire nation. The move will not be considered as ‘political victimisation’ as the audit was carried out after the general elections and before the new government took charge.