ISLAMABAD - Taking prompt action on a news story published by TheNation on Saturday, October 17, 2009, under the tile MFA spent $18,000 on tips for PM visits abroad, Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani ordered Foreign Ministry to probe into the matter regarding irregularities worth Rs. 396.15 million committed by the high-ups of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). On the direction of Prime Minister Gilani, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi ordered concerned officials of MFA to take up the task asking them to come up with investigation report regarding irregularities mentioned in the news report as early as possible, reliable sources informed TheNation. Spokesperson of Foreign Office Abdul Basit confirmed through an email that a thorough probe had been ordered in that regard. The email stated, The said audit observations pertain to the period 2006-2007. These payments pertain to the official visits of former prime minister to Kabul, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Belgium, Cuba and USA. The procedure for certification and record for such payments has since been rectified. However, story of huge corruption and irregularities by the MFA top brass doesnt end. According to another report mentioned in para 11 of an audit report on accounts of Ministry of Foreign Affairs during audit year 2007-2008, MFA purchased gifts for then prime minister and president worth Rs 24.399 million during their visits abroad during 2006-07. To the shock of many, the auditors noticed that no policy existed in the ministry regarding level of dignitaries and value of gifts. It was also found by the team of auditors that the gifts/items purchased were neither taken stock nor issued properly. Details of countries visited were not available on the record. To the shocking of each member of audit team, the list of recipients was also not provided to them. The audit team asked Foreign Ministry to show distribution of gifts to the dignitaries along with text of comprehensive policy regarding distribution of gifts. It was said that all gifts/items purchased during 2006-07 might be taken stock and got verified by audit. Moreover the audit team demanded details of countries along with recipients. Following the directives of audit team, MFA asked Deputy Chief of Protocol to come up with desired details on 30th May 2009, however no record was provided to audit team till 1st May 2009. It is worth mentioning here that in term of para 6 of MFA letter No. DG (M&F)-25/2004 dated August 3, 2004 regarding financial management of protocol division, list of gifts given to foreign dignitaries will be submitted to Foreign Secretary by Chief of Protocol through DG (M&F). The ministry didnt follow all the relevant laws and directives while purchasing gifts worth Rs. 24.399 million, the audit report said. Under clause 7 and 8 of Auditor Generals (Function, Power and Terms/Conditions of service) Ordinance 2001, the audit of receipt and expenditure rests with Auditor General of Pakistan. Moreover, under section 14(c) of the Auditor Generals Ordinance 2001, he/she may call for such information as he/she may require for purpose of the audit and the officer in charge of any office or department shall afford all facilities and provide record for audit inspection and comply with request for information in as complete form as possible and with all reasonable explanation. In violation of above law, MFA did not provide Issuance of Tax Exemption Certificates during 2006-07 (protocol Wing). Moreover, according to the audit report, the ministry did not provide record of Construction of Foreign Office Lodges at Islamabad during 2006-07 for audit.