ISLAMABAD - The Public Accounts Committee ruled on Tuesday that each and every department or institution (including Supreme Court of Pakistan) consuming funds from the national exchequer is bound to get its audit done.

“No one is exempted from producing its accounts for audit. Once a department is given sums from national exchequer, it is bound to provide its financial record to Auditor General of Pakistan,” Chairman Public Accounts Committee said during a meeting of PAC held here.

On Tuesday, the Auditor General of Pakistan took the chairman and members of PAC by surprise by revealing that a large number of departments and institutions were consuming billion of rupees from national exchequer; however, they refused to get their accounts audited.

When asked, the AGP told the meeting that some institutions including Supreme Court, NADRA, and National Press Trust, DHA and FWD were among those that had refused to get their accounts audited.

The PAC asked the AGP to compile a list of all those departments refusing for audit and table it before the committee during its next meeting.

The AGP especially informed the committee that National Bank and Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) had not only refused to get their accounts audited but also filed a petition in Singh High Court (SHC) to keep the AGP away from audit of their accounts.

PAC Chairman Nadeem Afzal Chan made it clear that all of the institutions including NBP and SECP will have to get their accounts audited by Auditor general of Pakistan and also ruled that PAC will become party on receipt of a notice from SHC and chairman or any member of committee will appear in the court. The AGP, however, told the Committee that NADRA was willing to get its accounts audited, however, higher authorities of Ministry of Interior were influencing him not to show willingness in this regard.

During proceedings of PAC, the Committee issued notices to Khushhali Bank and Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund asking them to explain why were they extending loan to people at the rate of 20 per cent despite the fact that they had secure loans from donor agencies at 2 per cent soft interest.

It pertinent to mention here that mighty institutions including Supreme Court, NADRA, and National Press trust DHA and FWD have been claiming to be exempted from all sorts of audits arguing they were not running on public money.

Last week, Nadeem Afzal had directed PAC joint secretary to summon heads of these institutions to explain why were they reluctant to get their accounts audited. Following directions of chairman, National Assembly PAC summoned registrar Supreme Court to appear before it on December 14.

The PAC also issued notices to the heads of NADRA, National Press Trust, DHA and FWD and Agriculture Business Support Fund to appear before the PAC on December 13 and 14.

Of these institutions, the SC has been resisting audit of its accounts since 2006 arguing that courts expenses are incurred out of consolidated funds rather than public funds, therefore, PAC is not authorized to review its accounts.

PAC has already issued notice to Registrar of Supreme Court after consulting legal experts.

Also, the Federal Ministry of Law and Justice informed the PAC that it was competent authority to review audit observations in respect of accounts of SC. The committee unanimously decided to summon the SC registrar.