ISLAMABAD: While the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap) is in the limelight for its important role in registering the Covid-19 vaccines and allowing its clinical trials across the country, the Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) has found severe violations of rules in the authority and suggested appointment of a full-time head for it.
Besides, terming all decisions of Drap unlawful, the AGP has suggested that these be validated by the federal cabinet.
According to the audit report for the financial year 2018-19 and 2019-20, Drap was ineffective due to its non-composition as out of the total 13 directors, only one (director costing and pricing) held the position on a regular basis. The others held the posts on a temporary basis.
Due to non-composition of authority, functions performed by it are unlawful, report says
The audit report will be presented to President Dr Arif Alvi by the end of the current month. The audit was conducted in September 2020 by a team headed by Audit Officer Ghulam Fareed Khokhar.
The report, available with Dawn, showed that there was no compliance with the previous audit paras and the post of the chief executive officer (CEO) had been assigned to an additional director Drap without authority.
Section 5 (1) of Drap Act 2012 states that the federal government may, on the recommendations of the board, appoint a person as the CEO. According to Section 5 (6), in case the post falls vacant, the federal government is authorised to assign the post to any person having the prescribed qualifications as the CEO for a period of three months or till the appointment of a permanent CEO, whichever is earlier.
However, the Ministry of National Health Services on March 7, 2019, assigned the post of CEO on a look-after basis to dispose of the day-to-day business, said the report.
It observed that the ministry had no authority to assign the work of CEO to anyone on a look-after basis. The CEO continues working since March 7, having not been appointed on a full-time basis as required under the Act.
Moreover, it added, the federal government (cabinet) was the competent authority to make the appointment. So all powers exercised, including administrative and financial and acts done by the CEO, were declared unlawful.
The report recommended that the federal government may appoint a CEO on a regular basis and regularise his past decisions/acts. Due to the non-composition of Drap, the functions performed by it are unlawful, said the report.
So it has been recommended that the federal government may make regular appointments against the vacant posts of directors and regularise the decisions made by the authority.
Published in Dawn, February 17th, 2021