Islamabad – The National Testing Service (NTS), embroiled in corruption allegations in the audit report, was established in violation of rules by the COMSATS high authorities, The Nation learned on Thursday.
Sources said that the testing service was though launched as a project of COMSATS in 2002 and registered with the Security and Exchange Commission Pakistan (SECP) 2003 as non-profit organization. But it was established in conflict of the COMSATS statutes without approval of the highest official forum.
“COMSATS was a public sector institute, however registered the NTS with SECP which enlists the private organizations for financial regulations,” said the official.
An official also informed that only the Board of Governors (BoGs) was authorized to establish any such organization or launch a project under COMSATS Institute of Information and Technology (CIIT) in 2002, which now has been up graded to COMSATS University Islamabad (CUI).
The federal government’ Directorate General of Audit and conducted special audit of the NTS from 2003-16 had spotted irregularities of around Rs7billion in the financial matters of the companies.
The official said that the future of the largest private testing service is uncertain regarding whether it will function under private status or government will ‘nationalize’ it.
“The foundation stone was placed wrong,” said the official.
Instead of 12 BoGs of the COMSATS, a five member committee headed by then rector of COMSATS had established the NTS issuing a simple notification.
“The financial matters of the company remained hidden from the public eye for more than a decade, while the special audit conducted in 2017 found the company involved in allegations of financial irregularities,” said the official.
The official audit document of the NTS stated that COMSATS Institute of Information Technology Ordinance, 2000 states that the institute is empowered to provide for instruction and training in computer and information technology and to make provisions for the advancement and dissemination of knowledge in such manner as it may deem fit.
It further said section 13 (1) of COMSATS Institute of Information Technology Ordinance, 2000 states that the general supervision and control of administrative, academic and financial affairs of the Institute and power to lay down polices of the institute shall vest, in a ‘Board of Governors’.
National Testing Service (NTS) was established as project of COMSATS Institute of Technology, Islamabad vide Notification NO. CIIT Reg/Notifi/02 dated 02.07.2002 managed and administered by the Management Committee. Later on in 2003 the Company M/s National Testing Service-Pakistan was incorporated under Section 42 of the Companies Ordinance, 1984 vide Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan Certificate of Incorporation No. 3304/20030401 dates 30.04.2003.
“Audit observed that NTS was established as project of COMSATS without obtaining the approval of the BOG,” audit observed.
The document said that the company was formed by the employees of the CIIT including Rector CIIT Syed Mohammd Junaid Zaidi, Director CIIT Haroon Rashid, Controller Examination CIIT Mohammad Sohail Ghani Warraich, Additional Director Tahir Maqbool Khaqwani and employee of CIIT Rizwan Taueer Ahmed.
“Neither the COMSATS Institute of Information Technology Ordinanace, 2000 allowed the establishment of such company in the Institute nor the approval of the BOG for establishment of the company was obtained,” said the official document.
The report also mentioned that the assets of the Projects of COMSATS were transferred to the Company in violation of the provision of the COMSATS Institute of Information Technology Ordinance, 2000 and without the approval of the BoG.
Registrar COMSATS University, Dr. Faheem Qureshi talking about the current legal status of NTS said that the current CUI act does not include NTS because the act was regarding upgrading the CIIT to university.
“University rules are under preparation and the picture will be clear about NTS once they are finalized,” he said.
He also said that NTS Board of Directors (BoD) includes six members including the rector, registrar, member from industry and SECP.
Registrar said that the NTS audit report was taken up by Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and NTS had also submitted its response on it.