Rs320m Saudi donation goes missing, Senate body told

Prince Fahd bin Sultan has governed Tabuk since 1987. — File Photo

Prince Fahd bin Sultan has governed Tabuk since 1987. — File Photo

ISLAMABAD: About Rs320 million reportedly donated by Prince Fahd Bin Sultan, the governor of the Tabuk region of Saudi Arabia, for construction of a transmission line in Balochistan is allegedly missing, prompting a parliamentary sub-committee to order a detailed investigation.

Fateh Mohammad Hassani, who presided over a meeting of sub-committee of the Senate standing committee on finance and revenue, ordered the probe by the ministry of foreign affairs and the Saudi embassy in Islamabad.

“It should be made known to the people of Pakistan if the Saudi prince made a donation; who received the money; and where has it gone, because executing agencies are completely ignorant about the donation,” he said.

Mr Hassani said the ministry of foreign affairs should investigate the matter and also get in touch with the Saudi ambassador.

He said the governor of Tabuk had himself informed him (Mr Hassani) about the donation for laying a 150km transmission line in the Chhattar area.“Obviously, an honourable person like Prince Fahd could not be wrong.” He comes to the area for hunting every year.

Mr Hassani’s repeated questions about the recipient of the donation, the banking channel used for the purpose, the account in which it was placed and the manner it was utilised, evoked response based on ignorance from the relevant authorities, including the project director of the Quetta Electric Supply Company, additional secretary of water and power ministry, Wapda chairman and additional secretaries of the planning commission.

“Then where has this money gone? We need to know how this money went missing and reached whose pockets if you don’t have its record and have not utilised it,” he said.

The committee was informed that upgradation of the transmission line for Dera Murad Jamali, Rojhan Jamali, Usta Mohammad and Jhal Magsi had been approved more than six years ago at a cost of Rs1.998 billion, but no disbursements were made even though sizable allocations were made for the project every year.

The meeting, also attended by Humayun Khan Mandokhel, expressed serious concerns over lack of coordination and cooperation among the ministries of water and power and finance, the planning commission and Wapda, resulting in colossal losses to the exchequer in the form of cost overruns and loss of opportunity and economic benefits.

The committee was particularly worried over cost escalation of Kachhi canal project from Rs31bn in 2006-07 to over Rs88.79bn at present. The project was originally scheduled to be completed by June 2014, but only 36 per cent progress had been achieved so far. Security situation in Rajanpur in Punjab and Dera Bugti in Balochistan were cited as some of the reasons for it.

Wapda officials informed the committee that Darawat dam, Hingol dam, Winder dam, Naulong dam and Sabakzai dam were behind schedule because funds required by Wapda were not provided in time.

Wapda chairman Ragheb Abbas Shah said Wapda had completed Greater Thal Canal project, Mangla dam upraising, Allai Khwar and Khan Khwar hydropower projects on time and raised liabilities for these projects but completion certificates had not been provided by relevant federal and provincial authorities.

The sub-committee expressed dismay over non-completion of projects and non-disbursement of funds for projects in Balochistan announced with lot of fanfare as if a revolution was taking place in the province.

It wondered why funds were not released for projects in Balochistan even though it was a good sign that schemes in other provinces were being timely completed.

“If you don’t want to disburse funds or release Rs5m against Rs1bn, you better stop these projects because we cannot allow this wastage. With Rs5m funds for a project, you cannot do anything. This goes into waste. Stop this and focus on projects that could be completed,” said Mr Hassani.

He said that due to non-finalisation of PC-4 (completion certificate) half of the country’s development budget was being wasted and nobody was being held accountable.

Source: Dawn

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