ISLAMABAD: In violation of the Supreme Court’s order of 2013, different leading government ministries, including defence, interior and cabinet, have refused to share the “Secret Service Expenditure” with the Auditor General of Pakistan.
In its annual report for the audit year 2013-14, the Auditor General of Pakistan said that despite repeated requests the details of Secret Service Expenditure have not been provided for audit.
The AGP reminded that the apex court in its judgment dated July 8, 2013 had declared as illegal, unconstitutional and of no legal effect those parts of the General Financial Rules, whereby the accounts for Secret Service Expenditure were taken beyond the jurisdiction of the Auditor General.
The SC had said that the Auditor General was not only authorised but also obliged to seek an access to any and all records actually maintained by all the federal and provincial governments, as well as all entities by or under the control of the federal and provincial government, regardless of the designation of such records as secret or otherwise.
The AGP report said that the apex court had added that an account shall be treated as “secret” only if so labelled in a federal or provincial statute and the constitutionality of such legislation will be subject to judicial review. The AGP said that under Cabinet Division, the Intelligence Bureau (IB) incurred an expenditure of Rs890 million during 2011-13 as Secret Service Expenditure. Despite repeated requests, the AGP report said, the record was not provided for audit.
The IB management withheld the information while relying on a PM’s Office order dated April 07, 2014, under which the prime minister had delegated the finance minister the power to issue necessary certification relating to the exemptions from audit of the secret service expenditure of the IB.
The Auditor General, however, did not accept the reply and insisted that the funds of the IB had not been labelled “secret” in any federal and provincial statute.
The AGP report recommended that responsibility may be fixed for hindering its audit functions. Under the Defence Ministry, according to the AGP report, the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency Karachi incurred an expenditure of Rs1.4 million out of Secret Service Fund during 2010-13. However, despite repeated requests from the AG office, the record was not shared.
The Pakistan Maritime Security Agency management in its reply while quoting government rules said that the audit could not be conducted of agency’s secret funds. The AGP did not accept the agency’s reply and found it violation of the apex court order. The AGP recommended disciplinary action against those responsible for hindering the audit of the fund.
Regarding the Interior Ministry’s National Crisis Management Cell (NCMC), the report said that the NCMC liaison offices at Karachi, Peshawar and Quetta were approached but they did not provide the record of their Secret Service Expenditures.
According to the report, in addition to the spending of taxpayers’ money in the name of secret expenditure the NCMC had placed an amount of Rs27.5 million at the disposal of the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances. The report said that even the record of Secret Service Expenditure by the commission was not provided to the auditors despite repeated requests.
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