Islamabad – Staff Reporter:
An audit of the Utility Stores Corporation (USC) for the year 2019-2020 has revealed that 9,756 employees are working in the organisation’s 42 regions against the sanctioned or authorised strength of 7,662.
The auditors recommended an independent inquiry into the matter to fix responsibility.
According to the audit report, 2,094 extra employees are an extra burden on the already cash-strapped organisation and that the USC did not share details of excess employees with the auditors.
The possibility of ghost employees in the appointments, therefore, could not be ignored, the report noted, adding that the USC extended undue favour to irregular employees at the cost of exchequer which also indicated weak internal control.
“The payment of salary to these un-authorised employees for the last several years showed that there was no financial discipline/control in USC budgetary matters and the budget under the head of salary and wages was not being allocated to zonal/regional offices as per sanctioned/available strength,” the report said.
According to the document, indiscipline in financial/budgetary matters led to such irregular appointments at regional offices level. The report termed the appointments and undue retention of 2,094 employees unauthorised and payment of salary amounting to millions of rupees to them irregular.
The USC management, on the other hand, defended these appointments and stated that an agenda was submitted to the USC board of directors (BOD) for regularisation of these employees and a decision of the BOD was still awaited in the matter.
The report also highlighted illegal appointments in the USC during the period of ban on recruitments, adding that the management made 11 appointments in BS14 and 16 on consolidated pay ranging between Rs20,000 and Rs40,000 per month in April 2011 on the pick and choose basis and neither the posts were advertised in newspapers nor relaxation on ban from the Establishment Division was obtained as was required under the criteria.
It said that an amount of Rs17.5m was paid till June 30, 2019, on account of salary to these employees who were appointed during the ban period, adding that a fact-finding inquiry was conducted and the case was pending in NAB’s Lahore office.
The USC initially suspended these employees and later their services were terminated, but the employees were reinstated on a court order.
The management of the USC further said that since the matter was under probe by NAB, therefore, the internal inquiry had been put on hold to avoid legal complications.