SARGODHA  -  Huge funds embezzlement has been unearthed as the government conducted an audit of the accounts of the Forest Department's Sargodha Zone from 2010 to 2018.

The funds were embezzled in the Forest Department under the guise of plantation drives in the last eight years. The government had ordered to conduct the audit and also directed to scrutinise how many plants grew up into trees within the last eight years, sources said.

The department claimed that millions of saplings had been planted in schools, colleges universities and also on the banks of roads and vacant land of government. However, greenery could not been seen there while majority of that plants were ravaged due to negligence of the department.

Besides, works and services department also ruined many plants and trees during widening of the roads and damaged the national wealth. Furthermore, the Forest Department carried out the cutting of green trees during consistent departmental auctions. However, log theft incidents also happened in abundance within that period with the alleged connivance of the department, the sources said. Due to cutting, the sissu trees have become rare in the area, they added.

The Auditor General of Pakistan has taken action over the frustrated results of the plantation campaigns and sought early report in this regard.

On the other hand the forest department officials denied the allegations and said that all the record of plantation drives was available. They also claimed that the department was working hard for a green and prosper country.