ISLAMABAD – Surprised at the existence of two deputy chairmen in a single institution, the Public Accounts Committee on Thursday directed the authorities concerned to remove them both, arguing that the officiating chairman was efficient enough to run the business of the NADRA. "It is indeed a matter of surprise for me that two deputy chairmen exist in the NADRA and that too in the presence of an influential and efficient chairman. I am sure, the chairman is capable enough to run the business," said Nadeem Afzal Chan, the committee chief. During the proceedings, the accounts committee was informed by the Interior Ministry’s additional secretary that the matter relating to the appointment of two deputy chairmen in the NADRA was sub-judice, and hence the ministry was unable to give a briefing. The official, however, confirmed that the organisation’s board of governors never approved the said posts and that they might be considered illegal. Upon this, the PAC chief remarked that the existence of two deputy chairmen in a single institution without its BoG’s will and approval was unjustified. He directed the NADRA chairman to remove the two appointees and submit a report within a week. Also, the PAC resumed the hearing of what may be called “case of audit objections” raised by certain institutions and departments, notably the NADRA, National Press Trust, Pak-China Finance and Agri-Business Support Fund. Appearing before the committee, NADRA officials said that their organisation had the authority not to get their accounts audited. "The NADRA has been given relaxation under the laws," they contended."Your organisation is getting huge funds from the state exchequer, and hence its accounts had to be audited," Chan said to the NADRA officials. He also ordered them to cooperate with the auditor general of Pakistan to have an audit of their organistaion. During the proceedings, the auditor general informed the committee that his department had been functioning under no act. “Let me inform you that the auditor general of Pakistan is working under no act. I will appreciate if the PAC could ask Parliament legislate on this count," he said, and informed that his office was working under one ordinance. Linking the AG Office to the Finance Ministry is like placing the Supreme Court under subordination of the Law Ministry, the auditor general told the accounts committee. Nevertheless, the PAC is all set to discuss the audit objections of departments, such as the Supreme Court and Defence Ministry, on Friday. Earlier this week (December 13), the PAC summoned the attorney general of Pakistan to explain as to why the apex court had been resisting to an audit of its accounts since 2006. The SC argues that the courts expenses are incurred out of consolidated funds rather than public funds; therefore, the PAC was not authorised to review its accounts. Media reports said Thursday the Supreme Court allowed the attorney general of Pakistan not to appear before the Public Accounts Committee.

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 14-Dec-2012 here.