LAHORE – Financial irregularities to the tune of Rs 3.54 billion have been detected in Punjab Forensic Science Agency and Laboratory, an institution tasked to analyse forensic evidence to enable the police investigators to get at the criminals involved in heinous crimes, TheNation has learnt.

The Agency has violated law and set procedure while spending hefty amount from public exchequer during two financial years, 2009-10 and 2010-11.

Hard earned money of tax payers has been wasted by people at the helm of the affairs by violating rules while purchasing sophisticated equipment, constructing building, recruiting staff at attractive salaries and sending them to the US for unnecessary and irrelevant training from unrecognised institutions, reveals audit carried out by a team of Director General Audit Punjab in the first quarter of the current year.

Out of thousands of transactions of the Agency, the auditors checked only 252 vouchers and as such the public amount wasted could be much more than merely Rs 3.54 billion.

During the audit, the team issued 77 observations and out of these only two were settled after discussion with the high officials of the Agency. Interestingly, both the observations settled by the Agency men were relating to production of schedule of payment. The team issued 75 audit paras including 71 advance paras and 04 ordinary paras.

As per the audit report, the Agency committed irregularity in purchase of Chromatography equipment (Rs 68.331 million), UPS without obtaining competitive rates (Rs 1.3 m), APV vans (Rs 25 m), placement of insurance (Rs 0.94 m), non submission of vouched account to Accountant General Punjab (Rs 1.1663 billion), non surrendering of savings (Rs 377.8 m), non recovery from forensic scientists (Rs 5 m), purchase of furniture at higher rates (Rs 3.2 m), purchase of Toyota Hiace vans (Rs 8.94 m), irregular purchase of vehicles (Rs 7.03 m), irregular purchase of Spectroscopy equipment (Rs 18.33 m), irregular payment to daily wagers (Rs 1.75 m), non recovery of unnecessary training cost (Rs 5.67 m), purchase of items not mentioned in the tender documents (Rs 1.2 m), extending unlawful reduction of tax liability (Rs 3.15 m), irregular payment of stipends to forensic scientists (Rs 19.5 m), irregular appointment of forensic scientists (Rs 9.32 m), Extra payment of visa fee (Rs 0.4 m), purchase of DNA-16 equipment (Rs 4.22 m), purchase of Autoclave without competitive rates (Rs 0.4 m), irregular purchase of Chemistry Analyzer, Elisa (Rs 4.8 m), irregular purchase of Life Sciences Equipment (Rs 24.5 m), illegal spends on conferences, seminars, workshops beyond competency (Rs 01 m), irregular purchase of microscopes (Rs 33.24 m), irregular purchase of Histology equipment (Rs 12.44 m), less recovery of stamp duty (Rs 1.69 m), appointment of a person joined two universities at one time (Rs 1.77 m), irregular purchase of Radiology Equipment (Rs 30.65 m), irregular purchase of Latent Fingerprint/Light Source equipment (Rs 27.6 m), irregular purchase of SEM Equipment (Rs 18.2 m), irregular appointment of forensic scientists (Rs 29.7 m), irregular purchase of Audio Visual Equipment (Rs 2.2 m), polygraph training at exaggerated rates (Rs 3.9 m), non imparting training to forensic scientists in Cleveland State University (Rs 17.88 m), irregular hiring of consultant (Rs 9.8 m), irregular purchase of pathology, autopsy equipment (Rs 15.6 m), irregular purchase of LFP consumables (Rs 6.8 m), irregular purchase of consumables (Rs 43.35 m), irregular purchase of library books (Rs 1.89 m), irregular purchase of networking, IT equipment, Data Centre (Rs 142.13 m), unauthorized collection in disguise of labour charges (Rs 0.6 m), irregular expenditure on repair of transport (Rs 0.4 m), irregular purchase of LIMS (Rs 92.5 m), non recovery of LCs opening charges incurred on behalf of contractor (Rs 151.22 m), non recovery of income tax (Rs 5.34 m), undue benefit to contractor by enhancing cost (Rs 70 m), premature release of retention money to the contractor (Rs 44.4 m), non recovery of bank guarantee margin from the contractor (Rs 24 m), non recovery of delay damages (Rs 88.8 m), over payment due to higher rates (Rs 20.5 m), unjustified purchase of land (Rs 72.86 m) and consumption of material without record (Rs 36.34 m).