Sit-In 2014 Cost Police More Than Rs326 Million Only for Food

Pakistan Tehreek-e-insaf’s four-month-long sit-in has cost the capital police more than Rs326 million only to provide food to its personnel.

This was revealed in a report by the Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) who raised serious questions over how the capital police spent public money during the sit-in.

The audit report, which was presented to the Parliament, states that the capital police incurred a cost of Rs695.4 million during the four-month-long protest. The money had been released to the department through a supplementary grant.

Curiously, the police did not record the expenditures from this special grant in the cash book, violating the federal treasury rules. Further, neither the copies of the cheques were maintained nor evidence regarding deduction of income tax was recorded by the police.

“Audit is also of the view that in absence of cash book and acknowledgements the authenticity of the expenditure of Rs695.463 million cannot be ascertained,” the AGP’s report observed.

Of the funds, Rs326.787 million was spent on food. The auditors further discovered that Islamabad Police had contracted the services of 16 firms for providing food to their deployed troops without adopting the open tendering system.

Other irregularities in food payments included payments discovered by the audit included payments through cash instead of crossed cheques, and non-verification of the cash payments by the drawing and disbursing officer.

“Audit is of the view that the expenditure incurred was irregular.”

The auditors have also termed the payment of Rs101.5 million for hiring vehicles for the police during the sit-in as “irregular and unjustified” since this process too flouted general tendering rules.

The report further observes that the police paid the food and catering companies without collecting excise duties which resulted in a loss of Rs52.9 million to the public exchequer. The same irregularity was committed while paying transport providers which caused loss of a further Rs21.8 million to the government.

The auditors have recommended that the concerned authorities undertake inquiries to fix responsibility for these irregularities. Moreover, they recommended that the money should be recovered and deposited in the government treasury.

The auditors also pointed to various irregularities in hiring hotel rooms to accommodate 74 police officers who had been called in from other cities amounting to Rs4.5 million.

The auditors discovered another anomaly in police expenditures noting that the department had paid Rs1.19 million to a stone crushing and sand firm for the provision of tents.

The AGP termed the payment as “doubtful” and recommended that it should be probed.

Further, the audit report states that Rs42.4 million was paid to a firm in lieu of rent for containers.

Curiously enough, the containers were deployed in the second week of August but tenders for the containers were not invited till November 10.

Other violations which raised questions over the payment include unavailability of the total number of containers which were used, and the invoices submitted by the contractors were without numbers.

“Audit is of the view that the tenders were invited after three months of the dharna merely to show the fulfillment of codal formalities.”

Credit: Express Tribune


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