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Audit Traces Rs 241 Million In Irregular Payments For Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC)

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ISLAMABAD: An audit report found 241.743 million rupees of irregular payments in a project for the year 2012-13 of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), due to which the national exchequer faced a huge loss. The documents were presented in the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

The audit report traced irregular payments in different centers across the country to non-project employees from 2006-12.

The documents state that the Finance Division sanctioned project allowances to the executive staff posted at the site of a project for considerations such as location of the project, lack of civic amenities, cost of living and risk of life. The amount of project allowance has been determined on merits of each case. The documents add that this allowance continued to be paid to the staff concerned, even after the completion of the project, in some instances.

An amount of Rs. 15,355,995 in the period 2006-2012 was paid to the PAEC Medical Center Karachi. Additionally an amount of Rs 11, 210,404 in the tenure of 2008-12 was paid to the Larkana Institute of Nuclear Medicine & Radiotherapy. Moreover, an amount of Rs 7,803,720 in the tenure of 2009-12 was paid to the Director, Cheenar Hospital Quetta.

Yet another payment of Rs 157,850,963 in the tenure of 2009-12 was paid to the Karachi nuclear power plant. A payment of Rs 7,016,148 in the tenure of 2010-11 was paid to the NORI Islamabad. Another payment of Rs 17,571,674 was paid to the Nuclear Institute of Agriculture, Tanjodam, in the tenure of 2010-12. The last amount was paid to the PAEC Headquarters in 2011-12, coming to Rs 24,934,202.

The audit in its observations noted that the project allowance was paid to individuals who were not project employees. Moreover, the audit is of the view that such payment of project allowances was irregular and unauthorized.

The management in its official response claims that PAEC was observing the rules and regulations set up by the Strategic Plans Division (SPD) for its employees. The management further adds that according to the pay-scale notified vide SPD, letter No, 938/2Ks/SWDD/AF/Pay, the project rate at uniform rate i.e 30% of the minimum of the pay scale was admissible to all employees of PAEC.

The audit documents say that this reply was not accepted because the project allowance was only admissible to project employees as per government policy and instructions. In view of this, the audit recommends that unauthorized payment of project allowance to non-project employees should be discontinued forthwith.

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