ISLAMABAD -  The Ministry of Interior (MoI) failed to provide record, to the auditor general of Pakistan, about the number of personnel sent to the UN peacekeeping missions, the total cost incurred on these contingents, and the money reimbursed from the UN.

The audit report for the financial year 2015-2016 on accounts of Interior Division says that the interior ministry did not provide the record to the audit team about the number of personnel, both mission-wise and year-wise, sent to the UN peacekeeping missions.

In addition to that, the ministry failed to provide the mission-wise and year-wise cost incurred on deployed personnel and contingent equipment cost due, and received from the UN.

The audit report also observed that double payments were made to the personnel deployed with UN peacekeeping missions during the financial year 2014-2015 in addition to their government salaries.

The government not only paid Rs301.328 million in the shape of the emoluments, allowances and benefits on monthly basis from its own accounts to all the personnel deputed with UN missions for the year 2014-2015 under an MoU signed with the UN but also the amount reimbursed as contingent cost from the UN was also given to them instead of depositing in the national kitty, the report said.

During the stint of then interior minister Rehman Malik in the last PPP government, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had registered a case against some officials of the interior ministry for their alleged involvement in giving undue extensions to police officers on UN peacekeeping missions in return for huge bribes.

Personnel of Pakistan army and police contribute to UN missions abroad.

Then interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan in 2013 had imposed a ban on the deployment of police officials with UN missions on the plea that internal security of the country was under threat due to the war on terror.

However, the interior ministry lifted a ban on deployment of police personnel in October 2016.

The audit report says that the interior ministry also failed to provide the record of month-wise number of arms licenses  renewed/revalidated and month-wise fee/penalty received during 2014-2015, the number of free licenses renewed, present arms policy of the government and the details of officials/officers re-employed after superannuation.

It said that the ministry failed to show the details of consultants/contract employees appointed during the audit period and movement/log book registers of vehicles, their petrol account and vehicle-wise expenditure on petrol/repair of each vehicle along with requisition slips.

The audit report is of the view that “in the absence of the relevant record, the authenticity of the accounts of the ministry could not be ascertained.”

The auditor general recommended that disciplinary action might be taken against officers involved in the hindering of the auditorial functions of the auditor general of Pakistan and in defiance of the July 8, 2013 order of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

The audit report says that the government made unauthorised payments of reimbursed contingent cost amounting to Rs301.308 million to its personnel only for the year 2014-2015 in addition to already paid emoluments, allowances and benefits on monthly basis from their respective offices to all the personnel deputed in UN peacekeeping mission for the period of their deployment.

The MoU signed between the UN and the government said that during the period of their assignment, the government shall be responsible for the payment whatever emoluments, allowances and benefits may be due to its personnel under national arrangement and the personnel cost at the rate of $1,028 per month per contingent member would be reimbursed later.

Audit observed that the government also paid the reimbursed personnel cost to the employees (in addition to monthly salaries from the government) at different rates during the above mentioned period.

The report views that the amount received from the UN was to be deposited into government accounts instead of the payment to the personnel.

The audit recommended for the recovery of the amount.

The audit report says that the Ministry of Interior signed MoU with the United Nations during 2004, 2006 and 2007 for sending its contingents to UN peace missions at fixed cost of $1,132 per man per month to be reimbursed on a monthly basis.

However, as per data provided to the audit by the ministry , personnel cost of $7.753 million was still recoverable from the UN for the year 2013 to 2015.

The due amount is of deployment of Pakistani contingents at three UN missions including Haiti, Darfur and Côte d'Ivoire.

The report says that the Ministry of Interior did not provide any record/information for the period before 2013-2014, and thus the exact recoverable amount could not be calculated.

The ministry also could not prove that they had pursued the case with the UN for the recovery of outstanding personnel cost.

The report further says that there was no clause in the MoU for the compensation for the late payment of dues from the UN.

In another audit-para raised by the auditor general, the report says that rent/ cost amounting to $5.314 million of the contingent owned equipment was not reimbursed by the United Nations during 2014-2015.

In this case also, the ministry did not provide any record/information for the period before 2013-2014 and thus the exact recoverable amount could not be calculated.

The ministry did not pursue the case with the UN for the recovery of outstanding equipment rent/cost.