The authorities has determined to ship a constitutional reference to the Attorney General of Pakistan in search of formal recommendation on barring federal auditors from conducting particular audits of unbiased energy producers (IPPs) agreements by limiting the scope of the audit.
Sources advised The Express Tribune that Prime Minister Imran Khan has given permission for the submission of a abstract earlier than the federal cupboard to find out the scope of the audit to be carried out by the Office of the Auditor General (AGP) of Pakistan.
The transfer might set off a authorized dispute between the federal authorities and the Auditor General’s Office, which has already described any such try and restrict the scope of the audit as a “violation of the Constitution,” in keeping with official paperwork. .
The abstract is predicted to be despatched by the federal cupboard to the Attorney General’s workplace underneath Article 100 of the Constitution to evaluation the scope of the federal auditors’ work.
However, the Attorney General has already given an opinion that the work of the AGP workplace must be restricted to audit of accounts solely and shouldn’t be included within the efficiency audit of public enterprises.
The AGP, then again, has refused to heed this recommendation.
At the foundation of the dispute is the AGP’s determination to conduct a particular audit of IPP agreements underneath the facility coverage of 2002 and 2015, tariff dedication by the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority and funds being made to IPPs, in keeping with paperwork. ,
In mid-2020, the federal government and 47 IPPs signed MoUs after which in 2021, formal agreements had been signed, which the federal government stated would save Rs 836 billion over a interval of 10-12 years.
In return, the federal government had agreed to pay Rs 450 billion to the IPP, of which Rs 224 billion has already been authorized by the federal cupboard. The authorities had additionally condoned the irregularities dedicated by the IPP previously.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) had directed the AGP to conduct the audit of the IPP. The PAC additionally held that the jurisdiction of the AGP and the consequential oversight jurisdiction of Parliament can’t be restricted to accounts, particularly, when in impact, these of officers or our bodies established by or underneath the management of the Federal Government. besides efficiency. Public curiosity and public finance are concerned.
However, Nepra approached the Cabinet Division to hunt recommendation from the Ministry of Law and Justice with regard to the IPP agreements and the particular audit of funds made to those corporations. Nepra had additionally questioned the scope of the AGP with regard to the conduct of audit underneath the Constitution, relevant legal guidelines and guidelines.
It had objected to the conduct of the audit of the regulator, the work performed by the regulatory authorities and the authorization of the PAC asking the AGP to audit the regulatory features of the regulatory authorities.
Sources stated the Attorney General had stated that the audit of administrative actions, effectivity of use of human, monetary and different sources and effectiveness of efficiency “is beyond the purview of the Auditor General of Pakistan”.
But the Office of the Auditor General has disputed the lawyer’s recommendation, elevating constitutional questions on the way in which by which the Cabinet Division has sought recommendation.
The AGP termed the efforts to restrict the scope of the audit as “violation of Articles 169-170 of the Constitution, the AGP’s ordinances, the directions of the PAC and the clear judgments of the Supreme Court on the matter of audits, for the purpose of accountability, transparency in the matter of audit”. and parliamentary inspection”, the paperwork confirmed.
Under Article 100 of the Constitution, the federal authorities can search recommendation from the Attorney General’s workplace—a route that the federal government had not beforehand adopted. To tackle this shortcoming, the cupboard might right now (on Tuesday) direct the Attorney General to advise the Attorney General on questions of NEPR concerning the scope of audit by federal auditors underneath Article 100 of the Constitution.
The federal cupboard has already arrange a committee to advocate “reforms” on the AGP’s work. Sources stated the committee is but to finalize its report and Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin has determined to nominate a non-public agency to arrange the report.
The AGP had additionally come underneath the microscope after stating irregularities of over Rs 40 billion within the Prime Minister’s Covid-19 reduction bundle. The authorities was compelled to launch the report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which had beforehand been withheld as a consequence of severe irregularities identified by federal auditors.
Published in The Express Tribune, Jan 18th, 2022.