LAHORE - The Punjab government has decided to carry out the audit of the Bank of Punjab (BoP) through Pakistan's leading law and charted accountants firms in order to detect the financial irregularities and embezzlement, it was reliably learnt on Thursday. The government has contacted country's leading firm Ferguson & Co. Chartered Accountants to carry out the financial audit of the bank. However, the Raja Law Firm of Salman Akram Raja has also been contacted to carry out the legal audit of the bank. The government is also contacting the law firm of SM Zafar to carry out the legal audit of the bank, sources added. Sources in the Punjab government further revealed that these firms would be asked to carry out the audit of the bank speedily and June 30 would be the deadline to this effect. These firms will be bound to complete the audit before June 30. These firms will submit the reports to the Board of Directors of the Bank of Punjab on the same day. "We have also asked these firms to carry out the legal and financial audit of above Rs 500 million loans sanctioned by the former top management of the bank," Sohail Ahmed Secretary Finance Punjab told this reporter, when contacted. The audit of the small loans will not be carried out, he added. The government, in the light of the audit report to be submitted to the Board of Directors of the Bank of Punjab, will take stringent action against the bank officials if they will be found guilty in the audit report, Mr Sohail Ahmed claimed. He further said that the foundation of the bank of Punjab is very strong and nobody should be worried about the Punjab Bank as the government is fully supporting the bank, which is the main asset of the Punjab government with a vast network across the province. "In order to get the clear picture, the Board of Directors of the bank of Punjab has decided to arrange for legal and financial audit through reputable auditors," he maintained. However, according to the sources, the Punjab government has decided to carry out the audit of the bank after consulting the State Bank of Pakistan in this regard. The sources believed that the government had removed the former President of the Bank of Punjab Hamesh Khan and his close allies after the State Bank of Pakistan pointed out that the Bank of Punjab had sanctioned highest loan in the history of the bank, to Harris Steels. The sources further disclosed that the former top management of the bank was also attempting to sanction more loans to some other companies but the process was halted soon after the matter was brought into the notice of the Punjab government. The auditors will also examine whether the former President Hamesh Khan and his allies sanctioned these loans after fulfilling the legal requirements or these were sanctioned without proper documentation. The auditors will also assess the value of the property on which the loans were sanctioned. The sources also disclosed that two of three partners of the Harris Steels have contacted the top provincial hierarchy and offered to clear their debt. "But we have asked them to contact the acting President of the Bank of Punjab in this regard," a senior officer of the Finance Department said.