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ISLAMABAD: Irregularities, mismanagement and corruption have plagued the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) over the past few years, according to two audit reports.
These have caused heavy financial losses to national exchequer, a fact that has been recorded in at least two audit documents — the Federal Directorate of Audit Report for 2012-13 and the Auditor General of Pakistan Audit Report for the same period.
The Federal Directorate of Audit and Inspection’s Report on the accounts of BISP, a copy of which is available with Dawn, reveals not only irregularities but also blatant disregard for established rules and regulations.
The BISP was established through an act of parliament in October 2008. Its expenditures amount to Rs165 billion to date, approximately 85 per cent of which came from the government exchequer. The remaining 15 to 16 per cent expenditures were from donor sources in the form of loans, which the government of Pakistan will repay with interest.
Federal auditors in the report reveal that the BISP management paid Rs2.648 billion to State Life Insurance Corporation (SLIC) from July 2010 to 2012 on account of Group Life Insurance.
The BISP entered into an agreement with SLIC on Feb 3 last year for a health insurance scheme. The BISP paid Rs98.509 million to SLIC in 2011-12 to support the scheme.
The audit observed that SLIC was awarded the group insurance contracts without open competition. Similarly, SLIC did not participate in the advertised invitation for proposals.
It further says SLIC did not have any health insurance experience as it only deals in life insurance.
Since the invitation for proposals was for health insurance, a contract for group life insurance was not proper, the report observed.
As per BISP law, the government will have to constitute a council, with the President of Pakistan as it chief patron and the prime minister as it executive patron. The BISP board will have to present its annual progress report to the council.
The audit recommends that the council may be constituted and accordingly the annual progress report may be submitted by the board.
The BISP management has allocated Suzuki Cultus 1000cc cars to directors with monthly petrol ceiling and paid Rs3.269 million during 2010-12 on account of repair and maintenance.
The audit recommends that recovery be initiated from non-entitled officers under intimation to audit and details be provided for any vehicles that have been monetized.
There are reports that 11 of the stated individuals, who were given government cars, are non-management scale consultants. It is pertinent to mention here that the BISP management purposely did not provide the complete details of the cars that were used or are being used.
The BISP management paid an amount of Rs1.930 million on account of cash award to technical assistance consultant from the government of Pakistan funds to 24 consultants during 2011-12.
The audit observed that 24 consultants are not government servants. The payment of cash award from government funds was irregular as technical consultants are not authorised to draw cash reward from government funds.
The BISP management purchased four Suzuki Cultus cars at a cost of Rs5.710 million despite ban on the purchase of vehicles from development budget. The audit observed that this purchase of vehicles was in violation of the austerity measures of the government.
The audit report reveals that the weak MIS system controls resulting in excess payment of Rs305.577 million to non-eligible beneficiaries and misrepresentation of facts resulting in extra payment — Rs66.968 million.
It further exposes duplicate payment to BISP beneficiaries through Pakistan Post and Benazir Debit Card to the tune of Rs1.359 million and irregular hiring of Pakistan Post cost Rs180.694 million used for delivery of letters to beneficiaries.
The report says that BISP has spent Rs1.647 billion for various prints and electronic advertising during 2010-11 and 2011-12. Of these 89 per cent advertisements were routed through one advertising agency.
According to the audit report, the appointment of the advertisement firm without open competition and due evaluation is irregular. It recommends that the matter may be inquired and responsibility may be fixed for the irregularity.