ISLAMABAD: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Thursday sought a briefing from the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) on the expenditures incurred on countering the Covid-19 pandemic.
NDMA chairman Lt Gen Akhtar Nawaz informed the committee that since he had recently assumed the office, the departmental accounts committee (DAC) could not examine audit paras before the PAC meeting.
PAC chairman Rana Tanveer Hussain inquired from Auditor General Javed Jahangir whether he had reminded the NDMA of the DAC’s meeting.
Mr Jahangir replied that as per the standard operating procedure, reminders were issued to every ministry and division well before the date of discussion on their respective audit reports.
Meeting was informed about audit reports for the spending made till June 30, 2020
PAC member Hina Rabbani Khar said she had perused audit paras and most of them were related to procedural issues. She said it was not useful to hold a meeting of the DAC a day before the PAC meeting.
The PAC chairman asked the NDMA chairman to hold a meeting of the DAC and put off deliberations on the audit report for a month.
Noor Alam Khan, a member of the committee, suggested that instead of a month, the next meeting on the matter should be convened after a fortnight.
Rana Tanveer Hussain, however, said that since Gen Nawaz was settling down, he should be given a month to understand audit paras. He, however, sought a briefing on spending on measures taken to counter Covid-19.
The auditor general briefed the PAC on audit reports for the first phase of Covid-19 spending up to June 30, 2020. He said the audit had been carried out of the NDMA, ministries of finance and health and the Utility Stores Corporation and the report would soon be submitted to the president.
Naveed Qamar, a member of the committee, suggested that the NDMA should also apprise the members of the vaccination strategy.
At the outset of the meeting, Riaz Fatyana, a member of the committee, pointed out that the matter of M/s Park View City, a private housing society of Punjab minister Aleem Khan, was still on the PAC’s agenda.
Rana Tanveer Hussain reminded him that during the previous in-camera session it had been decided that since the matter was sub judice in the Supreme Court, the PAC would wait for a judgement of the apex court.
Subsequently, he added, the order of the committee for referring the matter to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had also been withdrawn.
The PAC chairman had last month referred the Park View City case to NAB but had to withdraw the order after stiff resistance from the committee members belonging to the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf.
Published in Dawn, February 5th, 2021