ISLAMABAD: The Estate Office of the Ministry of Housing and Works allotted 52 houses to government employees against the rules, said the Auditor General Office in a report.

The audit report 2018-19, which was placed be fore the National Assembly, revealed that Estate Office of Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi and Quetta allotted 52 houses to various government servants by violating the Supreme Court’s orders and ignoring the general waiting list.

The report said an amount of Rs29.245 million was recoverable from the irregular allottees.

“Audit recommends cancellation of irregular allotments and action against the person at fault besides recovery of dues,” the report said.

The auditors pointed out the matter in Aug-Nov 2018 but the department did not reply. However, paras relating to Estate Office were discussed in Departmental Audit Committee (DAC) meeting held in January 2019.

The DAC directed the department to take up the matter with Public Works Department (PWD) seeking clarification/justification of categorisation of a specific house. DAC further directed the department to share a copy of the summary moved to the prime minister and decision with current policy on designated houses and get the facts verified from audit.

In another para, the audit noticed that some federal government departments and ministries were shifted or transferred under the control of provincial governments after 18th Amendment. As many as 69 houses of different categories of colonies of the federal government were allotted to the employees of the said departments.

“Audit observed that they [employees] are working now under the control of a provincial government but recovery of rent from the allottees of these houses required to be made accounted for in the accounts of the federal government.

“If the rent recovery was being made by provincial government, the same had to be transferred or accounted for in the federal government’s account.

“The consolidated record of rent recovery of these houses and allottees was not made available to audit. This resulted into the non-recovery/non-receipt of rent of Rs16.570 million.”

The audit pointed out non-recovery of rent in Oct 2018. The department replied that the matter had already been taken up with higher authorities for clarification and advice.

The audit recommended taking up the matter at an appropriate level for decision and receipt of rent recovery from the allottees.

Published in Dawn, September 21st, 2019