Massive discrepancies found in Zakat Fund in Sindh with Rs1.8 billion 'missing'
According to a report by Dawn, a fund of Rs30.680 million was released under the head of "rehabilitation and marriages assistance to unmarried women" during 2014-2016, the complete record of which was found missing from the office of DZC, Karachi East.
Other discrepancies found by the audit report in accounts of Zakat funds are following:
- The Sindh Bank irregularly retained Rs1.176bn of Zakat amount.
- A sample of 13 cheques amounting to Rs9.180m was drawn to reconcile the name of payees from the payee register of the office of the treasury office Karachi. The result shows that all the payees' names were different in the payee register from the name of payee noted in cash book counterfoils.
- The audit report also mentions about the irregular disbursement of permanent rehabilitation social welfare fund of Rs37.951m.
- ATM cards amounting to Rs327.67m on the account of "Guzara Allowance" were irregularly distributed
- Out of Rs2.950 billion budget, only Rs 1.435 billion was released to 28 DZCs and 38 hospitals in Sindh.
- The budget released amounts only up to 49 percent of the total available Zakat budget.
- Before releasing it to the deserving people, whole zakat amount of Rs1,176,000,000 was deposited with Sindh Bank in saving account for four months.
- The Zakat amount was retained by the bank only to earn profit but principle accounts officer didn't convene the DAC meeting until the audit report was filled.
- The auditor general of Pakistan has recommended that the amount retained by Sindh Bank along with profit be refunded.
- The irregular extension of management at Zakat Fund also raises red flags.
The report was recently presented before the Sindh Assembly, which referred it to the Public Accounts Committee so that it could study public audits, invite ministers, permanent secretaries or other ministry officials for questioning and issue a report of its findings.
How authorities have responded:
These irregularities were reported to the management but no reply was received and the meeting of the district accounts committee (DAC) was also not held till the finalization of the audit report.
These irregularities have also reported to the authorities on Jan 6, 2017, but no response was received.
The report has now been presented before the Sindh Assembly. The assembly has referred it to the Public Accounts Committee so they can study it, and invite relevant authorities including ministers, permanent secretaries or other officials for questioning. The report of the findings of PAC is expected soon.
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