PAC expels PBC DG from meeting

ISLAMABAD: National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Thursday took serious notice of presence of public servants on their posts despite expiry of their official tenure.The PAC directed freezing the salaries and privileges of those officers, who have held public offices even after completion of their job tenure, including Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) Director General Murtaza Sulangi, Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) Chairman Zafar Altaf, health director general and SME Bank chairman.The PAC meeting was held at Parliament House with opposition leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan in the chair to review the audit objections raised by Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) in the accounts of Ministry for Information and Broadcasting, Interior and Finance Division.The PAC chairman expressed dismay over non-cooperation of committee Joint Secretary Najma Siddiqui and Additional Secretary Musa Raza Afandi.

The chairman expelled PBC DG Murtaza Sulangi from the meeting when he was informed that the DG has been holding the public office illegally for the last six months as his tenure ended on June 15, 2010 and he was not given extension by competent authority.Earlier, Information and Broadcasting Secretary Sohail Mansoor misguided the committee by falsely stating that the prime minister had allowed the PBC DG to continue. However, Principal Accounting Officer of the ministry failed to provide written evidence before the committee.“You are here to protect the rules and regulation of the government nor any individual” Chaudhry Nisar remarked over the defensive stance taken by the secretary over the issue.Auditor General Tanveer Ali Agha expressed wonder over it and said the decisions taken by the ministry high-ups had no legal standing. When asked to explain the situation, Information Secretary Sohail Mansoor became confused. He changed his statement and shifted the blame on federal information minister saying that the minister verbally directed him to continue working.The chairman directed the PAO that not only Murtaza Sulangi be relieved of his duties, but also the amount of six months’ salary paid to him be recovered. If it was not done, then the recoveries would be made from the salary of the information secretary, he added.

Chaudhry Nisar said he knew that the PBC DG would try for his reinstatement in back dates. However, he would raise the issue in the next session of the lower house regarding granting extensions to officers.He directed the ministries concerned to stop payment of salaries to PARC chairman Zafar Altaf, Health DG Abdul Rashid Jumma and SME Bank chairman immediately and furnish details of their appointments.He directed the auditor general to provide details of secret funds of all the ministries. Audit officials told the committee that the information ministry had not provided details of the use of Rs 277 million. Information Secretary Sohail Mansoor said as they were pertaining to secret funds, which were legally protected, therefore, details could not be furnished.MNAs Yasmeen Rehman, Riaz Hussain Pirzada, Riaz Fatyana, Nadeem Afzal Chan and Zahid Hamid also attended the meeting – Dailytimes