The Punjab School Education Department and the Punjab Special Education Department have been found to have combined irregularities in their accounts of Rs319.31 million, according to the Auditor General of Pakistan’s (AGP) audit report for the year 2015-16.
According to the report’s copy available with The Express Tribune, the AGP unearthed irregularities in non-production of accounts, irregular mode of payments and overpayments of pay and allowances in two Punjab government departments.
School Education Department
Two types of irregularities were found in the School Education Department. The first irregularity was in the form of non-production of records, while the second was irregular mode of payments.
The audit found that the department did not produce particulars of as much as Rs349.64 million. The report stated that vouchers of payments to different organisations and personnel were not produced by two offices of the School Education Department. The details of amount of Rs348.1 million were not produced by the department’s then secretary, while Government College for Elementary Teachers Kot Lakhpat Lahore did not produce record of Rs1.54 million. “The audit was of the view that due to non-production of record, audit could not ascertain the authenticity of accounts.”
The report stated that the office in charge of any office/department shall afford all facilities and provide record for audit inspection and comply with request for information. It further said, “Any person or authority hindering the functions of the Auditor General regarding inspection of accounts shall be subject to disciplinary action under relevant Efficiency and Discipline Rules.”
In this regard the report said, “The audit recommends that matter be probed and responsibility be fixed besides production of record for verification of the authenticity of the expenditure.”
0.3m teachers to take education mission forward
The second irregularity was titled “Irregular mode of payments” that were calculated at Rs5.97 million. The report notes that any payment exceeding Rs100,000 had to be made through cheques. However, payments were made in cash in two instalments by the School Education Department. The report details payment made by School Education Department Secretary of Rs5.74 million and Government College for Elementary Teachers Kot Lakhpat Lahore worth Rs235,459.
Overall, the report noted that the compliance with the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) directives in School Education Department was quite low. It said, “Concerted and consistent efforts are required on the part of department to improve upon the compliance percentage.”
Special Education Department
For the Special Education Department, the AGP found two different forms of irregularities. The first, non-production of records was worth Rs33.11 million, while the second was of overpayments of pay and allowances worth Rs2.59 million.
The report stated that the department failed to produce records of two special drawing accounts (SDA) for audit. The audit in its recommendations said that the record be produced for audit and disciplinary action taken against the persons responsible for non-production of record.
Punjab government’s quality education initiative in limbo
The audit also found overpayments in pays and allowances to various officials of the department. The audit found that staff members were paid pay and allowances while they were on leave. All staff found to be paid while they were on leave from Government Training College for Teachers of the Deaf Gulberg Lahore. The audit held weak administrative and internal controls on payroll responsible for the irregularity.
The audit recommended that the department recover irregularly paid allowances and strengthen internal controls to avoid recurrence of such lapses.
Sheikh, Ammar. Irregularities of Rs391m found in education departments. The Express Tribune, October 23, 2017.