Karachi: KWSB sets up body to probe Rs1bn fraud
KARACHI: The Karachi Water and Sewerage Board formed a four-member committee on Tuesday to inquire into a financial scam in which about Rs1 billion was allegedly embezzled by the KWSB`s officials by submitting fake bank challans of new water connections.
Taking notice of a news item published in a section of the press that said a huge amount collected from consumers seeking new water connections was not deposited in the KWSB accounts during the past six or seven years, the utility`s managing director, Misbahuddin Farid, ordered setting up of an inquiry committee to investigate the matter and other issues concerning the sanctioned connections since 2004.
The inquiry committee has been asked to furnish its report within 15 days. Headed by the KWSB deputy managing director (planning) Mashkoor-ul-Hasnain, the committee`s members include chief engineer (water audit & GIS) Shakeel Qureshi, director (taxes-II industrial areas) Raza Hussain Naqvi and director (planning) Mohammad Iqbal (member-cum-secretary).
According to the official order, the terms of reference of the committee would be: to review and verify the amount from the KWSB finance department collected on account of new water connections from different consumers since 2004 to date; to reconcile the amount received by the KWSB on account of new water connections with paid bank challans and the sanction orders issued by the KWSB since 2004 to date; to verify whether the challans issued by the KWSB Assessment and Evaluation (A&E) department were in accordance with the water connections sanctioned since 2004; to verify whether the challans were issued by the KWSB`s A&E department or not after the sanctioning of water connections since 2004 to date; to verify whether the sanctioned water connections since 2004 were billed by the KWSB or not, if not responsibility may be fixed on the authority not ensuring the billing of sanctioned water connections; to ascertain the reasons that how payment was evaded with specific indication of the ways and means used for such evasion, if any, and to suggest methods for prevention of any foul play, if it had actually been so, in the past.
The committee has been allowed access to any record and permitted to examine all relevant officials and officers.
The news item which exposed the financial scam had quoted the sources as saying that “a network of swindlers” prepared fake bank challans of about Rs1 billion over the past six to seven years to assist consumers in getting water connections, thus depriving the utility of a huge amount of revenue.
The sources had also pointed out that the officials of three departments — information technology, finance and directorate of evaluation — were responsible for verifying that the water connection charges were deposited in the KWSB accounts by consumers seeking new connections and that the paid challan on whose production a new water connection was given by its engineering department concerned was genuine.
Suspecting that fake bank challans were produced for getting new water connections, the sources had opined that although it was the task of the officials of the IT, the finance and the revenue departments` directorate of evaluation to confirm the veracity of the bank challans on the basis of which new water connections had been given to numerous consumers over the past six to seven years, the possibility of involvement of some of the employees of the bank concerned in the alleged scandal also could not be ruled out.
It was also pointed out by the sources that the financial scam was unearthed when an exercise aimed at tallying the amount received by the utility over the past six years under the head of new water connection fee was undertaken by the KWSB`s revenue department.
The complete article can be found at Dawn News.