PESHAWAR: Two major public sector universities of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have refused to allow the provincial government to conduct their financial and academic audit despite having a provision in the law, according to sources.

They said that actually Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan (AWKUM) and University of Swat were violating Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Universities Act, 2012 while Swabi University was adopting delaying tactics in allowing the audit firm, hired by the government for conducting financial and academic audit of the public sector universities.

Sources said that the administration of AWKUM refused to cooperate and share documents with the audit firm. The higher education department verbally and through several letters communicated with the AWKUM’s administration to cooperate with the audit firm but in vain, they added.

The administration of both the universities -- AWKUM and Swat University -- argued that higher education department had no power to conduct financial and academic audit. Both the universities termed it intervention in their affairs.


Sources say Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan and University of Swat are violating law by not allowing audit


The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Universities Act, 2012 states that provincial government shall have the power to carry out financial and performance audit of all activities carried out by the universities out of the funds provided by national and provincial exchequer grants and loans whether local or foreign, in such a manner, as deemed appropriate.

Sources said that the audit would have started a year ago but the administration of the universities opposed it on the ground that there was no provision in the law to conduct audit by higher education department. The vice-chancellors were not happy with the audit because it would expose their performance, they said.

For this purpose, the provincial government incorporated amendments in the Act, empowering higher education department to conduct performance audit of the public sector universities.

The administration of AWKUM has sent a two-page letter to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan, who is also chancellor of the university, to seek his guidance in this regard. Reservations have also been shown over the intentions of higher education department about launching of performance audit.

A senior official at AWKUM, when contacted, said that the process of hiring audit firm was launched in 2014 while the relevant law empowered the higher education department in 2015 to conduct audit of the universities.

The law states that it shall be implemented with immediate effect while higher education department has commenced its implementation from the retrospective effect, according to sources.

The official said that Higher Education Commission could be the best forum to evaluate performance of the universities.

The administration of University of Swat has communicated through a letter to higher education department that the relevant law which empowers it to conduct performance audit has not been extended to Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (Pata).

However, sources in higher education department told Dawn they had asked the home department to extend the Act to Pata immediately.

The higher education department has hired Deloitte Pakistan, an audit firm, for the performance evaluation of the public sector universities. Besides huge funding by the Higher Education Commission, the provincial government has also given around Rs20 billion to the government universities since 2007.

“Through academic and financial audit, the higher education department wants to know whether the given amount was utilised properly or not. If utilised then the intended purpose was achieved or not,” sources said.

The process of performance audit worried several vice-chancellors of the public sector universities, they added.

Initially eight universities would face the academic and financial audit including Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan, University of Swabi, Bacha Khan University Charsadda, University of Swat, University of Peshawar, Khushal Khan Khattak University Karak, Hazara University Mansehra and Haripur University.

Published in Dawn, July 14th, 2015

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