Islamabad - The emergency audit of the Capital Development Authority Secretariat has detected embezzlement worth millions of rupees in installation of the safety equipment and the renovation project executed between 2007 to 2012, it has been learnt reliably.

According to the audit officials, the issue of verification of the fire and other safety equipment installed at the CDA Headquarters was pending since moths due to the delaying tactics being used by the officials who executed the project. Though part of the relevant record has not yet been provided to the audit team despite repeated requests and reminders, they added.

The audit has found mind-boggling figures pertaining to per unit price and number of fire safety equipment and total expenditure on the project.

The Emergency and Disaster Management Unit of the Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad is conducting the long due audit of the fire fighting and renovation project of the CDA Secretariat.

According to the officials who spoke to The Nation on condition of anonymity, the CDA Secretariat reportedly spent Rs26 million from the national exchequer in the garb of renovation of the main secretariat without any technical sanction of standard fire and safety plan through the Emergency and Disaster Management Directorate. The per unit price of one fire extinguisher was paid at Rs147,500 which, the audit team believes, is far higher than the market rates. They said even at present, the same quality fire extinguisher is available in market for not more than Rs5000. The CDA paid Rs192,340,000 for the 1304 fire extinguishers at a price of Rs147,500 per unit.

The officials said, according to the record shared by the concerned officials with the audit team, at one stage, the number of fire extinguishers to be purchased rose from 650 to 1786 while the ‘summary of fire extinguishers’ reveals the number of total installed fire extinguishers as 1304. The audit team believes that fire extinguishers were not the only requirement for the building as other safety equipment were also needed to be installed there for secure premises. On the other side, the officials did not conduct market survey to assess the per unit price of the equipment and apparently paid in excess of the actual price. According to the sources, Rs40m of the contractor is still with the CDA under the head of security. “Ms Pelican Engineers” had executed the project and the company had also executed many other major projects for CDA during the tenure of former CDA chairman, Kamran Lashari.

The officials said that the details such as Bills of Quantity, Measurement Book, Technical Sanction, project closure evidence, handing/taking over authentication, servicing and maintenance, security and pending payments details etc have yet not been shared with the audit team, giving “rise to unconstructive opinion towards the cost of project as exceedingly abhorrent, unjust with zero safety ensured within the CDA Secretariat.” The inspection has again been scheduled for April 4, 2018, to review the details of incurred expenditure on procurement of fire and safety equipment.