ISLAMABAD: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Wednesday expressed annoyance over the sale of substandard ghee and cooking oil by the Utility Stores Corporation (USC) and asked the auditor general of Pakistan (AGP) to submit a report on it in one week. The PAC also asked the AGP for the performance audit of the USC of the last one year.
The PAC held its meeting chaired by Rana Tanveer Hussain in which the audit paras related to the Utility Stores Corporation were examined. Tanveer issued production orders for the detained member of the committee, Khwaja Asif, for attending the next PAC meeting.
Audit officials told the committee only 11 out of 64 regions of the USC provided the quality certificates. The officials said the USC purchases ghee and cooking oil worth Rs 23 billion every month. They said the quality certificate is mandatory for the supply of ghee and cooking oil to the USC.
Tanveer said the committee directed disposing of low quality brands of ghee and cooking but instead of implementing the directives of the committee, the MD USC initiated an inquiry into it. He remarked that the USC is playing with the health of people while the MD USC only focuses on reducing the losses.
PAC Member Riaz Fatiyana said the USC failed to provide relief to people and is doing all purchases in violation of PPRA rules. He said people are affected by different diseases including cancer due to the substandard ghee and cooking oil provided by the USC. The regional offices of the USC have turned into hub of corruption and franchises were given after taking kickbacks.
PAC Member Iqbal Muhammad Ali said all commodities including pulses, sugar and rice being sold by the USC are injurious to health.
PAC Member Noor Alam remarked that the USC is selling powder like sugar and despite strict orders of the PAC, it is continuing its purchases. He demanded that the issue of selling substandard ghee and cooking oil should be referred to the NAB.
During the meeting, Tanveer and PAC Member Sanaullah Masti Khel exchanged hot words when Sanaullah wanted to speak in the support of the USC. Sanaullah opposed the proposal of PAC members for closing the USC, saying that the committee should take the version of the Ministry of Industries and Production before making any decision. Later, Sanaullah walked out of the meeting.
Speaking in the meeting, MD Utility Stores Corporation Umer Lodhi said the USC sends samples to the laboratory, PSQC, which is a federal government department, before selling any commodity. He said the USC never refused to implement PAC directives.
PAC Member Noor Alam Khan said he himself visited the USC at the Parliament lodges, where substandard things were being sold.