Lahore - An amount of Rs 28.82 million was embezzled by the divisional office and the sub-divisional offices of irrigation department in execution of BRBD Link canal project against erosion of River Ravi, an inquiry report of a high level committee has revealed.
The funds specified for construction of flood protection works to protect BRBD Link Canal against erosion of River Ravi were embezzled as the relevant officers neither did any work at the site nor any machinery was shifted there.
Former Secretary Punjab Irrigation Department Capt ® Saif Anjum had constituted a committee comprising of Chief Engineer P&R Zone Lahore Mian Abdul Rashid as convener while Superintendent Engr Mechanical Circle Lahore Ashraf Sandhu, Director Embankments Muhammad Latif and SDO River Training Works Sub-Division Muzaffar Garh Mahr Muhammad Yunus as members.
The committee was mandated to audit the Mughalpura Irrigation Workshop Division Lahore, Bhalwal Irrigation Workshop Division, Excavator Division Faisalabad, Machinery Divisions Lahore, Machinery Division Multan and Development Division II Multan for the period 2012-2015.
As per the official documents, the committee scrutinized the record of Excavator Division Faisalabad and Machinery Division Lahore for the work of Construction of Flood Protection Works to Protect BRBD Link Canal from 285-300 to 300-000/L against erosion of River Ravi.
An amount of Rs 60 million was allocated to the Chakbandi Division Lahore out of which Rs 30 million were given to machinery division Lahore for execution of above said work.
According to the record, a job order dated 27/01/2015 was issued by the XEN Chakbandi Division Lahore to the XEN Excavator Division Faisalabad for execution of the said work against an estimate of Rs 444,224,710 sanctioned by the Chief Engr Lahore. The XEN Excavator Division Faisalabad allotted the work to the Excavator Sub-Division Shaikhupura.
An amount of Rs 30 million was deposited to the Excavator Division Faisalabad against which an amount of Rs 30,726,247 was shown spent on purchase of diesel, lubricants etc by the SDO Excavator Sub-Division Shaikhpura. An excess amount of Rs 726,247 was spent against the deposited amount of Rs 30 million.
It was stated that the Rangers and security forces didn’t allow the concerned division to carry out work, so funds could not be spent. However, the officers involved in execution jointly stated that during flood of 2014, repair work of Khanki Head works was executed on the direction of the department without getting any advance payment. The POLs purchased against the project “Construction of Flood Protection Works to Protect BRBD Link Canal” were thus used to complete the repair works of Khanki Head works.
However, the probe committee didn’t accept this stance and deemed it appropriate to probe the expenditures incurred in three divisions against the other schemes as stated by the defendants. The committee further wrote that estimate sanctioned by the Chief Engr Faisalabad was Rs 20,846,468. The work for repair of Khanki Head works was completed at site and claim of Rs three million lying outstanding as claimed by the executing agency was not proved.
On the Flood Bund Division Narowal, the committee wrote, the job order “Restoration of Spur along Embankment Right Side of Deg Nullah D/S Chahoor Bridge” was allotted to the Excavator Division Faisalabad without any advance payment. The estimate of work prepared and finally sanctioned by the Chief Engr. A total payment of Rs 9143318 was made to the Excavator Division Faisalabad in this regard.
On the Muzaffargarh Canal Division, the report added that repair and maintaining work at Jatoi Canal was also entrusted to the Excavator Division Faisalabad without making the funds available by using the funds allocated for the BRBD Works. The tentative cost of the idle machinery and work executed during 2015 floods comes to Rs 1.18 m.
The committee held the officers responsible for this embezzlement that include XEN Excavator Division Faisalabad Tariq Ch, Accounts officer Mian Abdul Ghafoor, SDO, Irshad Ahmed Goheer and Salamat Hussain Storekeeper all three from Excavator Sub Division Sheikhupura.
The committee further wrote about XEN Tariq Ch that he used funds allocated against the Cunnitte of BRBD on other schemes without prior approval, he purchased the POLs beyond the sanctioned storage capacity of 50000 liters against BRBD works which proved that POL is only purchased in papers and government has to sustain loss of Rs 28 m due to his dereliction and weak supervisory control.
SDO Ch Nisar Ahmad was found involved in embezzlement of 33000 liter diesel, 900 liter mobile oil, 300 Kg grease, 300 liter gear oil and 624 liter hydraulic oil. He is also involved in preparing fake documents in collaboration with the storekeeper. The SDO Goheer and Storekeeper Salamat Hussain was also found involved in the embezzlement.
Pointing out the misappropriation in Machinery Division Lahore, deposits utilized for purchase of POLs amounting to Rs 5.28 million. And then a sum of Rs 2.58 million was transferred to the ongoing works Chot Drain, Palkhu Nullah and Sub Link Canal. The XEN further provided a conciliation certificate from treasury officer Lahore regarding un-spent deposits showing Rs 20.84 million out of which Rs 1.15 million credited to revenue. The concerned officers claimed that machinery was shifted to the site but private sources claimed that no machinery was shifted. The committee after thorough investigation into the complaints found the officers SDO Machinery Sub-Division-II Jawad Qayyum, Sub-Engr and store keeper Ch Muhammad Ashiq were found responsible.
When the committee submitted the probe report to the Irrigation Secretary Capt ® Asadullah Khan, he didn’t agree with it and made a one-member committee (Superintendent Link Canal Nadeem Khan) to further probe the matter. When contacted, the new inquiry officer didn’t comment on the current position of the probe. Another officer claimed that the officers were not responsible as the Army stopped them executing the assigned task.
Secretary Asadullah Khan was not available for comments.