ISLAMABAD: A whopping Rs 14.154 billion Central Zakat Fund (CZF) lapsed during the fiscal 2006-07, says the Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) report.
The Central Zakat Council (CZC), overseen by the Religious Affairs, Zakat and Ushr Ministry, manages the CZF created for distribution of Zakat to Northern Areas, Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), nationwide health institutions, national level calamity/emergency relief services etc.
Punjab’s share in the CZF is 57.36 percent, Sindh’s 23.71 percent, NWFP’s 13.82 percent and Balochistan’s 5.11 percent.
During the year 2006-07, the CZF totaled Rs 19.509 billion out of which the total disbursements/ expenditures were of Rs 5.354 billion. This way, Rs 14.154 billion Zakat funds remained unutilized and thus, lapsed, the AGP report says.
The auditors also pointed out irregularity of Rs 16.707 million in purchase of medicines by the health welfare committees (HWCs) of Chandka Medical College and Hospital, Larkana; Jinnah Postgraduate Medical College and Hospital, Karachi; Services Hospital, Lahore; Khyber Teaching Hospital, Peshawar; Fauji Foundation Hospital, Rawalpindi; and Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplant, Karachi without open competitive bidding/tenders.
The AGP detected an unlawful expenditure of Rs 3.5 million by the HWC of Chandka Medical College Hospital on treatment of patients without determining their istehqaq (being deserving) by the Local Zakat Committees (LZCs).
It was also observed that during the year 2006-07, the HWCs of Chandka Medical College and Hospital, Larkana; Lahore General Hospital, Lahore; and Punjab Institute of Cardiology, Lahore unjustifiably adjusted Rs 1.328 million medicine bill in the next fiscal year.
The auditors said the HWCs of Lahore General Hospital and Mayo Hospital, Lahore irregularly purchased Rs 0.618 million worth of medicines without availability of sufficient Zakat funds for the purpose. The expenditures were to be adjusted in the next year, they said.
They also observed that the HWC of Civil Hospital, Karachi, illegally transferred Rs 0.1113 million Zakat funds to its accounts; the HWC of IRNUM Hospital, Peshawar paid Rs 0.218 million to a medicine supplier in cash instead of crossed cheque, as has been prescribed in the rules; the HWC of Civil Hospital, Sibi, retained unspent balances of Rs 0.202 million to the CZF, and the HWC of Civil Hospital, Karachi didn’t return the unutilized medicines to the supplier resulting in an irregularity of Rs 0.156 million.
The AGP recommended that the principal accounting officers (PAOs) concerned get the unspent balances refunded to the CZF by the hospitals, check payment of Zakat bills of one year from the budgetary allocations of the next year and ensure refund of the funds illegally transferred to the hospital accounts.
The auditors also pointed out that the HWCs didn’t properly maintain record like register of deserving patients and cash books and that Zakat administration’s internal audit departments are understaffed, short on qualified and experienced auditors, without audit plans, reporting channels and follow-up mechanism. They also complained that in certain cases the record was not produced before the auditors, response to audit paras was slow, and the administrations didn’t arrange meetings of the Departmental Accounts Committees (DACs) on time.
The auditors asked the PAOs to ensure creation of a mechanism of management controls to prevent unauthorized practices and improper use of Zakat Funds, enforcement of regulatory frameworks in the organizations, capacity building of the staff to effectively implement Zakat system, arrangements for prompt refund of Zakat fund and regular internal audits before statutory audit.