LAHORE - The government of the Punjab has failed to trace more than Rs. 330 million secret funds that disappeared without a trace during the tenure of Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi as Chief Minister of Punjab. Highly placed officials confided with TheNation that strenuous efforts to trace this huge amount have not borne fruit, even after the passage of more than one year. The secret funds are utilised by every government, under a very strict policy and for that a record is maintained in case it has to be justified at any point in time - so that taxpayers money was spent in public interest and not misused or squandered away. In this case, several attempts by the competent and concerned authorities have failed to yield any tangible results forcing the Punjab government to declare this money as 'missing that has no trace in any record that is available with the government. After this exercise, a furious debate has erupted within the coalition government of Punjab as to whether it would be appropriate to either ask Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi as to where the money was spent, or to make out a reference against those who spent the money but failed to maintain any kind of record as per requirements of the law. One school of thought strongly feels that the money that disappeared could have been misappropriated and utilized for purposes that cannot be justified on any ground; therefore, no record for these Rs. 33 crore plus exist in any form with any government department. There is a strong opinion that to ensure that such a situation never arises again, a transparent system should be evolved that ensures that some sort of record is maintained by the concerned authorities justifying expenditures out of the secret funds that are available with them. Normally certificates by the competent authority are issued when the money spent was in national interest and that is considered to be a sufficient reason for that expenditure. However, in the present case no such certificate was ever issued and neither was any register or receipts maintained when this staggering amount of money was spent by the previous regime. The question would remain as to whether this case of the missing millions could be ever resolved or like many other similar cases it will be put under the carpet to rest in eternal peace. When contacted a spokesman of the Punjab government confirmed that indeed some secret funds have not been accounted for by the previous government.