Auditors find Rs128m scam in IESCO

Tribune

ISLAMABAD:
Auditors have unearthed embezzlement of Rs128 million in the award of 24 contracts by the Islamabad Electric Supply Company (Iesco) as the public utility has made excessive and incorrect payments to contractors.
The auditors suggested that the embezzled money should be recovered from the contractors and responsibility should be fixed on officials involved in the misappropriation.
They held Iesco Project Director Chaudhry Shoukat Ali along with five other officials responsible for the scandal. These people were electrical engineers, but they were dealing with civil works and caused a loss of millions of rupees to the public power utility by making excessive payments to the contractors.
According to documents available with The Express Tribune, the auditors during scrutiny of company record found that Rs53.9 million had been embezzled due to unnecessary expenditure on the construction of a duct line. They noticed that the contractors received a very heavy amount for removing and re-routing electric cables from the route of Metro bus project. Money was spent very lavishly as well as unwisely through contracts, they said.
The auditors pointed out that the company did not consider shifting overhead feeders below ground, but spent funds on constructing a big duct line, which was against the spirit of the government as well as power utility.
They recommended that the matter should be investigated by an inquiry committee for fixing responsibility and making recovery.
In another case, an excessive payment of Rs21.33 million was made to the contractors and the project site was not inspected by the sub-divisional officer (SDO), executive engineer (XEN) and project director.
The bill was approved without due verification and care, the auditors noted and recommended that the matter should be investigated by a committee to fix responsibility and recover the money from the officers responsible or the contractors.
The auditors also found another excessive payment of Rs16.39 million to the contractors.
During scrutiny of the contractors’ bills, it was noted that all the contractors that worked with the project director were using material and labour for their own interests in violation of the instructions.
They called for recovering the excessive payment from the contractors and holding responsible the officers involved in the misappropriation of funds.
An official told The Express Tribune that the project director had been appointed in February 2014, but he was still holding the post in contravention of the company policy that required transfer of the official after every three years.

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