LAHORE: A commission appointed by the Supreme Court to hold forensic audit of Pakistan Kidney and Liver Transplant Institute (PKLI) has found discrepancies in financial affairs of the institute.

In an initial report filed before a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, the commission, Kaukab Jamal Zubairi, stated that the actual approved contract of PKLI was Rs13 billion and according to the finance department of the institute it was increased to Rs19.05bn whereas the government documents explained it to be Rs19.50bn and Infrastructure and Development Authority Punjab (IDAP) was expecting it to be increased to Rs23bn.

It said despite continuous delays and poor performance of IDAP, the PKLI kept paying money to them. The commission said the project department of the institute explained that most of the decisions were made at the chief minister’s house and they were not invited to the meetings.

It further pointed out that contracts to the tune of Rs8bn were awarded to ZKB-Reliance JV, owned by Zahir Khan - an ex-member of PKLI board of governors. The same company was also involved in construction of metro bus service in Punjab, it added.

In its report, the commission also complained about non-cooperation of the officials working in the PKLI and urged the court to associate with it two investigators from the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for conducting a complete forensic audit.

Earlier during the hearing, Chief Justice Nisar told PKLI President/CEO Dr Saeed Akhtar that the purpose of forensic audit was not to dishearten anyone but to check whether the public money was used in a transparent manner. He further told Dr Akhtar that the court fully acknowledged his abilities and services.

“The court has no interest in your salary but wants accountability of Rs20bn spent on PKLI,” the chief justice said to Dr Akhtar. It was Rs15.5bn, Dr Akhtar said.

However, Chief Justice Nisar asked the PKLI head to recheck the figure as it was exactly Rs19.5bn the government spent on the project.

The chief justice adjourned further hearing for a month and directed the commission to submit a complete report of forensic audit. The CJP also directed the NAB to associate its two officials for the assistance of the commission and also warned them to not harass anyone.

The chief justice had taken suo motu notice of huge salary structure of the PKLI’s president and its other staff.

Published in Dawn, June 13th, 2018

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