The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday sought replies from the federal government, State Bank of Pakistan and others in a petition filed against payment of Rs 480 billion by the Ministry of Finance to the Independent Power Producers (IPPs).
Advocate Abid Nazir Sial had challenged the direct payment to the IPPs.
In his petition, the petitioner submitted that the ministry paid the said amount to the IPPs through direct advice to the central bank. He also assailed amendment in the Controller General Accounts Ordinance, 2001, saying that direct advice was unlawful act of the ministry.
The lawyer contended that the auditor general of Pakistan was responsible for ensuring accuracy, authenticity and validity of all payments before incorporating them into financial statements. He said that the way such a huge payment was directly released without routing through pre-audit mechanism established in the system the authenticity of all government payments could not be ensured.
The counsel contended that the government introduced an amendment in the CGA Ordinance in order to give blanket powers to the finance division for the release of payment against the spirit of the constitution. He said the auditor general had in his special audit report clearly highlighted the excess payment out of Rs 480 billion made to the power producers.
The petitioner further argued that taxpayers’ money had been doled out to the IPPs in the absence of any mechanism to check their claims of inflation.
The petitioner asked the court to strike down the amendment in the ordinance and restrain the Finance Ministry from issuing direct advice to the SBP for release of payment to the IPPs.
After hearing initial arguments, Justice Ayesha A Malik sought replies from the respondents, and adjourned the hearing till June 24.