Information Ministry wastes Rs 84m on a ‘dead’ project


Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has spent a hefty amount of Rs 84 million on paying rent for a building hired to establish Media City in the last three financial years while it has so far failed to materialise the project. The audit report for the year 2010-11 on the accounts, exclusively available with Pakistan Today, reveals that a building owned by State Life Insurance Company of Pakistan (SLIC) had been hired by the ministry on July 15, 2007 for the Media City for which the ministry paid Rs 84.15 million as rent in the financial years 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2009-10. “Audit observed that the building was hired for the purpose of Media City – a project, which had no approval, PC-I. The monthly rent was sanctioned in excess of the authorised power. The ministry failed to establish Media City for which the building was acquired at exorbitant rent,” says the audit report.
The report further says that the ministry paid an average rate of Rs 75 per sq ft which was in excess of the rates approved by the Pak-PWD and the approval of Finance Division was not obtained for hiring the building at higher rates.“The payment relating to period prior to 2007-08 is not known due to non-production of relevant record,” the audit report adds.The federal audit authorities hold the expenditure as irregular and unauthorised and maintained that the irregularities pointed out in the observation led to wastage of public funds. They also questioned the grant of Rs 4.50 million sanctioned to various press clubs and owners of newspapers in 2009-10.
“Audit observed that there was no adjustment account available in the record in respect of these grants. The purpose and objective of some of these grants was also not known,” says the report. “Para 207 (3) of GFR VOL-I deals with the provision of grant-in-aid to non-official institutions and to semi-official ones, such as public clubs, etc which states that before a grant is paid to any public body or institution, the sanctioning authority should as far as possible insist on obtaining an audited statement of the account of the body or institution concerned in order to see that the grant-in-aid is justified by the financial position of the grantee and to ensure that any previous grant was spent for the purpose for which it was intended,” the report says. But while violating the rule, the ministry did not obtain audited statements from the press clubs and owners of newspapers to whom grant-in-aid was provided.


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