- Finance Division illegally grants Rs 3.8m as HBA, equivalent to 36-month pay, to Postal Services secretary who was just nine months short of retirement
- Finance Ministry spokesman says Raja Ikram was paid by AGPR on grounds that he will return money before his retirement
- According to Federal Audit Department, irregularity was committed by Finance Division in collusion with AGPR
Pakistan Today has found out Finance Division’s involvement in doling out millions of rupees to their “blue-eyed” in violation of rules and regulations.
According to sources in the Finance Division, an unauthorised payment of Rs 3.879 million was made to Postal Services Division Federal Secretary Raja Ikram under the head of House Building Advance (HBA).
The secretary, who is actually the principal accounting officer of his own ministry, was more than 59 years old when he got the payment.
According to the Federal Audit Department, the basic irregularity has been committed by the Finance Division in collusion with Accountant General Pakistan Revenues (AGPR).
WHAT RULES SAY:
Note 1 of Para 253(2)(iv) of GFR Volume-I stated that the full amount of HBA will be admissible only to those who are less than 47 years of age. In the case of those who are above the age of 47 years, the amount of advance should be so reduced as would enable the recovery at the rate of not more than 1/4th of the government servant pay in any one month of the total amount advanced, including interest, possible before the retirement of the government servant.
The matter is likely to be taken up by Public Accounts Committee (PAC) headed by Pakistan People’s Party (PPP)’s Syed Khurshid Shah. It is however ironic that the irregularity was committed while PPP and its allies were ruling the country.
HOW DID SECRETARY HAVE ILLEGAL AMOUNT APPROVED?
According to the Audit Department, the management of the Ministry of Postal Services sanctioned HBA to the Postal Services Division secretary, amounting Rs 3.879 million during March, 2011 equivalent to 36-month pay.
The audit observed that the age of the officer was more than 59 years as his date of birth was December 2, 1952.
At the time of HBA’s withdrawal, only nine-month service of the secretary was remaining.
The officer was granted HBA equal to 36-month pay although under the rules, he was eligible to draw HBA equal to two month pay only i.e. Rs 215,476.
The HBA was paid on the instructions of Finance Division contained in letter No F.7(4)PF-III/2011-2012/303 dated March 12, 2012.
As the payment of HBA and subsequent was not indicated in the pay slip, therefore, the possibility remains that the advance may not be recovered at all.
Moreover, the formalities; mortgage deed of Plot No 188-D, Sector D-12/4, Islamabad valuing Rs 1,687,500 were not fulfilled.
According to the audit, the payment of HBA to the officer was irregular and unauthorised and the Finance Division did not have any authority to violate the provisions of the General Financial Rules.
WHAT FINANCE DIVISION SAYS:
The management replied that the Postal Services secretary applied for HBA under the scheme for construction of 5,000 houses for federal government employees on ownership basis.
Since his retirement was due on December 3, 2012, he provided an undertaking that total amount sanctioned against HBA would be returned before his retirement and also authorised AGPR to deduct the balance amount, if any, from his commutation/GPF.
The Finance Division sanctioned the HBA and AGPR paid the amount on these grounds.