ISLAMABAD – The Higher Education Commission (HEC) did not recover the agreed amount from private universities for providing network facility, causing a loss of Rs 225 million to the national exchequer, according to a report.

The Audit Report 2011-12 says that the Commission paid an amount of Rs 450 million during 2010-11 out of Pakistan Education Research Network (PERN) project to various service providers such as PTCL for providing network facilities to the universities. And according to the agreement, 50 per cent of the paid amount (Rs 225 million) was required to be recovered from the universities that was not recovered and if the amount was recovered, it was required to be deposited in the government treasury as the HEC is not authorised to retain the amount.

Though the HEC management replied that the amount was recovered from universities, the audit officials did not accept the reply as no documentary evidence was provided to ascertain that the amount was deposited into government account.

The report also highlighted irregular grant of 75 per cent rebate in income tax to non-research employees of HEC in 2009-10 that resulted in a revenue loss of Rs 5.400 million. According to rules special reduction in tax liability of 75 per cent is granted only to a full time teacher or researcher employed in a non-profit educational or research institution, including government training institution.

Likewise, the management of Air University extended 75 per cent tax rebate to all employees of the university during 2008-11 and income tax amounting to Rs 4.914 million was not deducted from the non-entitled employees who were not full time teachers or researchers.

Meanwhile, the report also unearthed irregular expenditure on procurement of vehicles worth Rs 18.667 million by the University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore. It said that the administration of the university purchased 11 vehicles in excess of the approved numbers in the PC-I and without the approval of the competent authority.

However, the administration was of the view that the excess vehicles were purchased keeping in view the requirements of new campuses of UET, Lahore, in Faisalabad, Kala Shah Kaku and Rachna College of Engineering and Technology, Gujranwala with the approval of vice chancellor. 

It has also revealed that the University for the Construction of ‘lecture theatre and convocation hall’ paid an amount of Rs.9.697 million to the contractor on account of escalation against variation of steel price. The audit report observed that the contractor was not entitled to avail both the facilities, i.e. secured advance and price escalation at the same time as per agreement.