Pak Govt. exempts accounts of ISI, IB from audit: AGP tells PAC

| Updated: Dec 21, 2016 21:11 IST

Islamabad [Pakistan], Dec. 21 (ANI): The office of the Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) has informed the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif-led PML-N Government has virtually exempted accounts of the ISI and IB from audit through the Finance Bill 2014. "We have to accept their accounts with government certification due to a clause in the Finance Bill 2014," the Dawn quoted AGP Rana Assad Amin, as saying before the PAC. The AGP is a constitutional institution and the supreme audit institution in the country for ensuring public accountability and fiscal transparency. Amin, who was the Finance Ministry's adviser in 2014, questioned as to why are the intelligence agencies reluctant to get their accounts audited by the AGP, adding that they are not the auditors of another country. The revelations were made during a meeting of the PAC. Informing the PAC that the Supreme Court had ruled in August 2013 that all funds released by the federal government were auditable, the Auditor General said the auditors were not provided any record when they started the audit of the National Crisis Management Cell's (NCMC) secret service fund. The PAC was informed that 47 objections on different spending of the secret service fund were raised by the auditors when they provided the records later on. Responding to a question by PAC member Shafqat Mehmood about the procedure for the audit of secret service fund, Amin said that the practice of releasing the secret service fund to different ministries had been abolished in 2013. He, however, said the secret service fund was still being utilised by the ISI and IB. Amin said that the auditors could not audit their accounts due to a legal bar of the Finance Bill 2014. The Auditor general said that they have sought a legal advice regarding the matter from the law division as the institution is empowered to conduct audit of all release out of public money. He said the law division had advised them that the law was still in place under which they had to accept the accounts of these agencies with government certification as the apex court did not set aside the ouster clause of the Finance Bill 2014. Amin added that the Attorney General had endorsed the suggestion of the Law Ministry when they approached him last week. The Auditor General said that they would ask the government to withdraw the ouster clause from the Finance Bill as they were not satisfied with the current situation. The PAC suggested to the Auditor General to file a petition before the Supreme Court to enable them to conduct audit of the intelligence agencies. (ANI)