Massive irregularities in HEC accounts

ISLAMABAD, June 30(Daily Times): Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) has pointed out irregularities of billions of rupees in accounts of Higher Education Commission (HEC), which kept on releasing funds to universities over the years without a proper mechanism for auditing.

According to audit report 2005-06, HEC released Rs 6.4 billion to 53 universities as grant-in-aid in 2004-05. Rs 6.06 billion from this amount was given to 47 universities without obtaining audit record of the grants released to them in previous years, says the report.

It says Rs 3.6 billion was released to 42 universities in 2003-04 without obtaining audited statements of previous releases. Under the rules, maintenance of audit record of the grants and funds was mandatory for every public body.

Major beneficiaries of the HEC grants is NUST Rawalpindi which was released Rs 538.4 million in 2004-05, Rs 369 million in 2003-04 and Rs 875.7 million in 2002-03. Quaid-e-Azam University Islamabad was released Rs 364 million in 2004-05, Rs 211 million in 2003-04 and Rs 178 million in 2002-03.

Karachi University was released Rs 288.7 million in 2004-05, Rs 150 million in 2003-04 and Rs 124 million in 2002-03. HEJ, Research Institute of Chemistry, University of Karachi, received Rs 135 million in 2004-05, Rs 129 million in 2003-04 and Rs 655 million in 2002-03.

University of the Punjab Lahore was released Rs 239 million in 2004-05, Rs 140.9 million in 2003-04 and Rs 22.4 million in 2002-03. University of Balochistan Quetta was released Rs 262 million in 2004-05, Rs 120 million in 2003-04 and Rs 26.3 million in 2002-03.

NED University of Engineering and Technology Jamshoro was granted Rs 144 million in 2004-05, Rs 69.2 million in 2003-04 and Rs 76.8 million in 2002-03. Fresh annual grants for all these universities and others were issued regularly without any audit of previous ones in violation of the rules.

The AGP also observed that the HEC was given Rs 2.24 million in advance for various sport activities but this 'advance' has not yet been 'adjusted'. The sport activities for which the 'advance' was released included 8th WU Badminton (Thailand) in December 2004, AUSF 4th GA meeting (China) in December 2004, 44th NB Championship, National Women Baseball and Gold Cup Hockey in April 2005.

The HEC also drew in Rs 1.45 million for the Second Pakistan Universities Games in April 2005 and the amount was advanced to M/s Maria Printers Rawalpindi, M/s J. S Traders Rawalpindi, M/s Hums International Islamabad and M/s Sunny Tailors Islamabad. The report mentioned that this 'advance' had also not been 'adjusted'.

The AGP audits only two percent of total funds of a public body. As the budget for the HEC goes in billions, it is logical to assess that the irregularities would have been more horrible had the AGP audited consumption of funds overall.

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