ISLAMABAD - Auditor General of Pakistan Buland Akhtar Rana was stunned by his subordinates who ruled out his objection to the purchase of luxury cars from 'Pilgrims' Welfare Fund' for officials of the Religious Affairs Ministry.
During a briefing to the Public Accounts Committee on Wednesday in the National Assembly, the auditor general said that officials of the Religious Affairs Ministry purchased luxury vehicles for the federal minister, Haj director general and other officials from 'Pilgrims' Welfare Fund' that was contrary to rules and regulations.
"Mr chairman, rules do not allow officials to purchase luxury cars from pilgrim's fund that can only be spent to facilitate the pilgrims. Hence, purchase of vehicles from this fund is contrary to rules and regulations and the amount must be recovered," Rana said. But to his shock, Rana's subordinates, officials of foreign audit team, declined their boss, claiming that rules allow such spending to officials of the Religious Affairs Ministry.
"There is no bar on officials to purchase cars and other equipment from Pilgrim's Welfare Fund. So, there is no question of irregularities here," officials, who carry out audit of country's foreign missions, told PAC.
Rana did not try to defy the claims of the auditors but change the topic by telling the committee that 31 teachers were sent on Umrah and Haj during the tenure of former prime minister Shaukat Aziz.
He said that the act of sending those men was illegal because the Religious Affairs Ministry had abolished the practice of sending people on Hajj and Umrah at government expenses.
Separately, PAC rejected the claim of the Pakistan Board of Investment that the country was attracting more foreign investors than other countries in the region.
Pakistan Board of Investment Secretary Anjum Rashid told the PAC that Pakistan was ahead of India and Sri Lanka in attracting foreign investment despite facing the challenges of terrorism and energy crisis. Investment is on rise in gas and petroleum sectors, he said.
Rejecting the claim of the secretary, PAC said that investment was not visible in the country.
The committee asked the secretary to submit a report about the investment made in the country in five days.