Rs 3,661.9 million irregularities in KP:AGP books table

PESHAWAR: The Auditor General of Pakistan has detected irregularities in the affairs of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Text Book Board (KPTBB), causing a loss of approximately Rs 3,661.978 million to the Treasury.

The auditor accused the previous administration of KPTBB of embezzlement, false supply of books, sale of free books and false stock entries. He blamed board leadership and recommended reinstatement, high-level investigations and accountability for redress. It also recommended disciplinary action and prosecution of the officials responsible.

The findings included the failure to produce verifiable records of the general sale of books by the Sale Wing worth Rs 26,750 million. About 1.75 billion rupees of sales tax was not deducted from the seller’s invoices.

When Education Minister Shahram Khan Tarakai was contacted, he said it was very clear no leniency would be granted to anyone involved in irregularities, but he had not read the report. “Let my team read it and analyze it first.”

A board official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the new KPTBB chairman has taken concrete steps to improve board business and ensure transparency and accountability, but this report was about the years previous ones, which former officers should respond to.

The Special Audit Report for 2018-19 to 2020-21 has been submitted to the Governor of KP pursuant to Article 171 of the Constitution, to lay before the Provincial Assembly. The audit report revealed that the actual books required in public schools in the province were 109,070,294 in the 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years, according to a report by the General Directorate of Education. Education Supervisory Authority. However, 151,053,609 books were printed/distributed resulting in a surplus of 41,983,315 books over the three years. Purchasing/distributing books in excess of actual needs is gross misconduct on the part of the council. The auditor recommended a high-level investigation, the recovery of Rs 1,642 million from the officers concerned in addition to fixing the responsibility on the culprits.

The special audit report revealed that 11,420 class 8 and 10 books worth Rs 1.0268 million listed in the inventory register were found missing, indicating that these books were sold by the concerned officials as they knew that these books were going to be revised/changed from the next academic year. This showed embezzlement of Rs 1.0268 million.

Board staff were observed to be involved in embezzlement by selling ‘books not intended for sale’ on the open market worth Rs 10 million. These English books were sold in Kohat district open market in 2019-2020. Careful examination of the record reveals that these books were sold to booksellers in Kohat by a registered sales agent in Peshawar and this was confirmed by the seller. After investigation, only Rs 62,000 was fined. The auditor is of the opinion that the full amount should be recovered from the officials responsible for the misappropriation of funds.

It was noticed that the false supply of books caused a loss of Rs 34.156 million to the Treasury. The contract for the supply and supply of the book “My English Reader” for Class 4 has been awarded in the academic year 2020-21 with the quantity of 657,737 books @ Rs 51.93 per book. According to the inventory register, the book “My English Reader” for class 4 was presented in the month of May and June 2020. The publication of the same book was carried out in the month of March and April 2020, two months before the printing of said book. The auditor is of the opinion that the issuance of books to different districts prior to their printing and subsequent supply to the council shows fictitious entries made in the stock register which need to be accounted for as they caused a loss of Rs 34.156 million to the Plublic treasure. However, further checking of the record reveals that the number of books was changed by overwriting the voucher from 657,737 to 667,409 resulting in an overpayment of Rs 502,267.

The auditor found that false book entries were made in the inventory register and investigations by three departmental commissions confirmed that the books were missing. He recommended the recovery of the missing books worth Rs 2.625 million from the manager in addition to taking disciplinary action to avoid such occurrence in the future. The auditor revealed that the publishers/printers caused a loss to the government with the connivance of the board management due to the piracy of textbooks on a yearly basis. Review of relevant records revealed that the council received a 7.5% royalty from publishers/printers on book sales and that the publishing mafia had a history of exploiting the government by showing less of general sale books to be printed and sold in the market.

The auditor is of the opinion that the publishers/printers hid the actual number of general sale books printed/sold in the market, depriving the board of royalties of Rs 147.174 million. Through the pirating of textbooks, they were gaining a lot by causing huge financial loss to the council, and in this practice, council officials were involved for monetary benefits.

It was noticed that a huge amount of Grade 11 books worth Rs 10.862 million were in the store. It was decided that the said books would be used this year to save the public treasury and that the revised books would be printed from the next academic year. But a board committee under the chairmanship of the secretary for primary and secondary education decided to introduce the revised books from 2020-21 instead of the next school year. The auditor said that this decision of the committee resulted in a loss of Rs 10.862 million for the government.

It was observed that a contract for the printing of the kindergarten class creative art book for 2020-21 and 2021-22 has been awarded. Examination of relevant records revealed that the book was of the same specification, color and scheme with the same number of pages, also purchased from the same printer, but had a significantly improved rate of 35.50% in 2021-22 , resulting in a loss of Rs 5,140,924 for the government. Similarly, 128%, 121%, 120%, and so on in the allocation of book printing resulted in a loss of Rs 422.87 million.

While physically checking the store, it was noticed that approximately 100 million expired/obsolete books were in the cardboard store along with other obsolete items, which were to be auctioned.

The auditor is of the opinion that a list of unusable items and outdated books should be prepared for an early auction to avoid further losses. The audit report states that 35 million rupees has been committed on the 4th grade Islamiat book (Urdu and Pashto version). It has been duly vetted by subject matter experts and proofreading by a subject matter expert. It was printed and distributed to all public schools in KP, but later when the non-printing of the words Khatamun Nabiyeen on page 13 was reported, it was decided to reprint the book and retrieve the disputed book. in all districts. The reprint of the book cost Rs 35 million, not including shipping costs. It was decided that the same book would be used in the next school year after making changes on page 13. But it was of concern that neither the book was picked up despite the shipping cost, nor the book had been used in the next fiscal year.

It was observed that around Rs 1.75 billion in taxes were not deducted from the various sellers when paying for the post. The board administration awarded unauthorized special remuneration and fees worth Rs 1.322 million to different employees.

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