Action awaited on irregular appointments in Engineering Complex

The Ministry of Industries and Production has failed to act against the officers found involved in the irregular goods procurement and appointments in the public sector Heavy Engineering Complex, Hattar Industrial Estate, three years ago.

According to the report of an inquiry, whose copy is available with Dawn, the departmental audit committee detected in Nov 2019 the irregular goods procurement and regularisation and appointment of officers in the HEC.

The departmental accounts committee headed by industries secretary Azhar Ali Chaudhry approved during a meeting on Nov 11, 2019, the formation of a fact-finding inquiry into the audit paras on the matter.

The ministry’s then deputy secretary (admin) tasked with holding the probe recorded the statements of the senior management of HEC and State Engineering Corporation of Pakistan and formally declared that the complex violated the PPRA rules to procure bus bars, a component used in the manufacturing of power transformers valuing Rs8.183 million from supplier SGWI in 2011.

According to the inquiry report, the HEC had been on the approved list of public sector entities for privatisation since 2005 and therefore, fresh recruitment directly by the company or through third party and post upgradation in the HEC wasn’t allowed.

However, the HEC management, without consulting the Privatisation Commission, regularised the services of its four contractual employees of the management cadre. The financial burden of the irregularity was Rs8.823 million.

The inquiry also pointed out violation of the directives of the Privatisation Commission by the organisation’s management.

It declared that the HEC’s management had admitted that the vacancies of assistant manager (EPS-II) and deputy manager (EPS-III) were not advertised in the press and that the two officers were inducted on a regular basis without advertising the posts in national and regional newspapers and constituting a selection board for the purpose.

The inquiry report said the two officers had been working as daily wagers since 2015 with their contract being extended irregularly.

It also named officers responsible for violating the directives of PPRA and Privatisation Commission and thus, causing a loss of Rs17.299 million to the exchequer.

Later, accounts officer of the ministry Abdul Rauf, with the approval of the industries secretary in Feb 2021, informed the HEC managing director about the proposed inclusion of audit paras concerning the organisation in the Audit Report of Public Sector Enterprises 2018-19.

The sources told Dawn that recovery of financial burden amount and departmental action against the relevant officers was required under the law but that had yet not happened.

When approached, Mr Abdul Rauf insisted that he didn’t work as the account officer anymore due to the transfer to another department, so he was not aware about the fate of audit paras and inquiry report.

He, however, said after such inquiries, the matter was usually referred to the departmental accounts committee and Public Account Committee.

Account officer Safdar Abbas, joint secretary (admin) Imran Latif Minhas, chief (finance) Aijaz Ali and HEC managing director Hasan Mamoon were not available for comments.

Related posts