Pakistani babus spend drought money on cars, split Acs and tiles

November 24th, 2007 - 2:07 pm ICT by admin  

Islamabad, Nov 24 (ANI): More than Rs 100 million, part of a huge loan borrowed by the Pakistan Government in 2002 for the drought-stricken people, was spent by bureaucrats on cars, split air-conditioners, fancy tiles and giving jobs to friends and relatives, Auditor General Younis Khan has revealed.
The startling report presented to President General Pervez Musharraf by Khan enraged MPs, who sought murder cases against such officials who had misused the money.
The money loaned from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank was spent as if it was a free gift for Islamabad bureaucrats and their relatives.
One senior Pakistan Planning Commission executive renovated his office with new imported tiles, vertical blinds, split air-conditioning units, special furniture, carpets, luxury chairs, glass tables, all with the money that should have gone to the children of lesser gods in 68 districts hit by severe drought, Khan said.
The AGP report, pending remarks by the President, shows besides luxury items, 90 persons were employed in Islamabad, most of whom were relatives of officers within the organisation.
Some retired Army officers were also taken on board as consultants, The News quoted Khan, as saying.
Irregularities were found during the audit, which included the purchase of mobile phones and payment of phone bills from the drought money.
An audit and account officer, with no background in agriculture, is running the technical project of drought for the last five years without having any skills required for running such a project, the report highlighted.
The office of Dr Akram Sheikh and other high-ups of the Planning and Development Division were renovated with the drought money.
Dr Sheikh, enjoying the status of the Minister of State, had refused to use the old office. The first thing he did after becoming the Chairman Planning Division was to get his room renovated with drought money, the AGP report revealed.
Khan had ordered an audit of the multi-billion rupees drought mitigation program, after the Press pointed out massive irregularities.
The misuse of these funds was a big issue with parliamentarians of the ruling party.
Some of the PML-Q MPs, including Ishaq Khan Khakwani, Ahmed Alam Anwar and Tasneem Nawaz Gardezi, had, in fact, demanded registration of murder cases against these officials because they blamed deaths caused by drought on these callous officials. (ANI)

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