PAC orders special audit of HEC

Tribune

ISLAMABAD: A sub-committee of the Public Accounts Committee has directed the auditor general to conduct a special audit of the Higher Education Commission.

It has also ordered to conduct a special inquiry against Senate members of the Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology (FUUAST) for discrepancies in the appointment of its former vice chancellor Zafar Iqbal.

In its meeting, the sub-committee, headed by Sherry Rehman, reviewed the audit paras related to the financial and administrative embezzlement at the HEC.

On the audit paras regarding the HEC’s post supplementary budget grant of Rs1 billion, the committee said that the audit para could not be settled.

Rehman inquired as to where the Rs1 billion supplementary grant had been spent. “Present the details before the committee,” she added. “Supplementary grants are brought to parliament after which they are approved.”

In the audit paras regarding launching of a dual degree programme by COMSATS University of Science and Technology in 2010 without the permission of HEC, the authorities said, “Rs490.56 million was collected illegally from 28,000 students under the garb of fees for the programme.”

The PAC joint secretary apprised the meeting that the sub-committee was formed on this matter which said to allow one-time exemption to students. Rehman questioned whether the students were granted exemption.

“The HEC has made this an issue of stubbornness and ego. What will become of these kids who have paid fee,” said the secretary.

The HEC DG said COMSATS did not obtain approval for starting the programme with an international university from the HEC. “Now, the matter is under trial in court,” he added.

COMSATS VC said this programme was started with Lancaster University, which is among the top 10 universities in United Kingdom. “We gave advertisements. HEC never raised any objection. Court had ruled in favour of the students on which the HEC has filed an intra-appeal.”

Rehman said, “It seems from the HEC’s attitude that it is higher than parliament. Why not we get a special audit of HEC carried out?”

The committee directed to grant one-time exemption to students and ordered to conduct a special audit of the HEC.

On the matter of non-return of six scholars from the FUUAST who went on scholarship abroad, the audit authorities said that as per the contract they are supposed to refund the money if they do not return.

They have to return Rs30.76 million should be recovered from them, said the committee.

NAB authorities said a case was under trial against them.

On FUUAST hiring 13 lawyers without the law division’s approval, the committee demanded of the university administration to submit details regarding the lawyers and the cases.

On payment of 20 per cent special allowance to the staff of FUUAST and Quaid-e-Azam University, the committee said in the audit paras that it was against the rules and the amount paid up till now should be recovered.

The committee directed the said universities to submit a recovery plan with it.

On non-payment of Rs80.65 million by FUUAST under the garb of security services and non-recovery of income tax, the NAB authorities said that the matter was in the NAB court.

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