Commission constituted: Forensic audit to be conducted to probe Rs24,156 billion debt

ISLAMABAD: On the directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan, the Cabinet Division on Friday constituted a commission to probe significant accumulation of debt by Rs24,156 during 10 years. The commission will conduct forensic and special audit to investigate the matter.

Hussain Asghar has been nominated as chairman of the commission. The commission will conclude its findings and give final report in six months.

The Commission shall comprise the following:-

i. Hussain Asghar (Retired PSP BS-22 Officer, currently serving as Deputy Chairman, National Accountability Bureau: Chairman

ii. Representative of the NAB: Member

iii. Representative of the FIA: Member.

iv. Representative of the Intelligence Bureau: Member.

v. Representative of the ISI: Member.

vi. Representative of the SBP: Member.

vii. Representative of the SECP: Member.

viii. Representative of the FBR.

ix. Representative of the Accountant General Pakistan Revenue: Member.

x. Representative of Military Intelligence: Member.

xi. Special Secretary, Finance Division: Member/Secretary.

The commission shall be further empowered to co-opt/ engage any person from the public or private sector, locally or abroad as a member, consultant or adviser for the assistance of the commission.

The Terms of Reference of the Commission of Inquiry shall be as per following:-

a. Determination of signification of major infrastructure of public sector development works conducted from the years 2008 to 2018, and commensurate them with the increase in public debt from Rs.6,690 billion in 2008 to Rs.30,846 billion till September, 2018.

b. To inquire/investigate about the award or implementation of any contact/agreement or project and whether any debt was taken for a particular project/undertaking and the same was then spent/expended on the corresponding project/undertaking, or, otherwise?

c. Whether the terms and conditions of any public contract were tainted or benevolent or artificially inflated to facilitate any kickbacks? If so, in whose favour?

d. Whether any holders of public office or their spouses, children and any persons connected to them expended any public funds so as to meet personal or private expenditures, beyond what has been permitted under the law and rules?

e. Whether the cap prescribed under the Fiscal Responsibility and Debt Limitation Act, 2005 (hereafter: “the 2005 Act”) has been busted? If so, the reasons and justifications thereof?

f. Whether the amendments, if any, in the 2005 Act were in keeping with the spirit of Article 166 of the Constitution, or, otherwise?

g. Forensic and special audits be conducted through any reputed international or local auditor or set of auditors in order to determine the real nature, scope, volume, cost and trail of the investments or expenditures of the Federal Government (or any part thereof) from February 2008 to September 2018.

h. To fix responsibility in respect of the above, and to refer any irregularity or illegality found for investigation and prosecution to relevant agency/department.

An appropriate budget shall be sanctioned, which the Commission shall be entitled to utilize and spend in its discretion so as to meet the expenditure of the Commission, said a notification.

The Commission shall give its final report within 6 months of its formation, with periodical interim reports on monthly basis.

The time limit mentioned above may, however, be extended with the prior approval of the Prime Minister.

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