islamabad - Auditor General Pakistan (AGP) has no mandate of conducting audit of the National Testing Service (NTS) while allegations of billions of rupees corruption against the company are also baseless, said the company’s top official on Friday.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) NTS Dr Sherzada Khan held a press briefing after the irregularities were reported in the audit report of the company held by AGP. “As per rules, the NTS falls under the category of companies audit schedule 02 and it is exempted from the list of AGP jurisdiction,” said the CEO NTS. However, he also denied the billions of rupees corruption allegation but didn’t rule out possible irregularities. “As per audit observation there would be irregularities which couldn’t be neglected,” he said.

Dr Sherzada claimed that AGP is only authorised to conduct the audit of departments which receive funding from government while the NTS does not receive any funding from the government.

He also said the NTS is registered with the Security Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) under companies act.  “NTS is a Not Profit Company whose audit could be held by external firm with the approval of Security Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) only,” he claimed.

He said that though the AGP was not authorised to conduct the audit, the Board of Governors (BoGs) comprised ex-officials of COMSATS University allowed it for transparency.

Dr Sherzada Khan also told media that the audit report has not been verified yet and has to pass several stages before it is sent to departmental accounts committee.

He also welcomed the inquiry against possible irregularities mentioned by AGP. “NTS will support the investigation by FIA or NAB against the irregularities pointed out by AGP,” he said. Audit report has not been finalised yet, said Dr Sherzada.

He said Rs02 million was transferred into NTS account when it was transformed into an independent test conducting company from the project of COMSATS. “It was transfer of assets of NTS which was dubbed as illegal transfer of money,” NTS chief claimed.

The NTS chief had welcomed AGP for conducting audit in his previous media talk. He informed the media that NTS conducts its own audit every year with the approval of SECP through an external firm while the SECP has only once inspected the NTS.

He said that NTS held around Rs02 billion movable and non-movable assets.

He also accused Higher Education Commission (HEC) of paving the ways of the audit of NTS by AGP.

“HEC has become a competitor after the launch of its own testing service ETC so it has no mandate to ask for NTS audit,” he said.

He said that HEC in 2003 supported the expansion of NTS network but now has launched its own testing service.

He also informed media that NTS will soon launch a biometric system of examination with the collaboration of NADRA.  “This project will cost Rs45 million,” he said. However, he also said that many projects being run by NTS were in loss which the AGP audit report mentioned.

COMSATS BoG had requested the audit of NTS by AGP through HEC in the month of October last year. It was the first audit of NTS by AGP since 2003.