The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) failed to recover more than Rs8.7 billion from various telecom/mobile operators, said a recently released Auditor General Report 2008-9.
The PTA a corporate body for regulating the telecommunication industry did not recover outstanding dues of Rs7.4 billion on account of Universal Services Fund (USF) charges, Access Promotion Contribution for USF, and Research and Development payment from the telecom operators during the period.
The report said the PTA also failed to provide documentary evidence of recovered amount of Rs6.5 billion during verification of cheques, bank statements and their clearances.
While conditions required that licence holders should pay the annual fee to the PTA in 120 days at the end of financial year, the authority failed to recover an amount over Rs112 million from mobile and telecom operators in violation of the laws. Pace of the recoveries remained slow, the report said, and suggested to accelerate recovery process, besides vigorous pursuit of court cases.
The authority also failed to collect more than Rs81.39 million from Class Value Added Services (CVAS), Radio Base Service (RBS), Card Pay Phone Service (CPPS), Internet Service Providers and other operators during the period in license fees out of total recoverable Rs95.32 million.
According to the report, the operators still owed more than Rs33.9 million in late payment charges that PTA had failed to recover, although rules clearly stated that no amount of government should be left outstanding without sufficient reasons and where any dues appeared irrecoverable the orders of competent authority for their adjustment must be sought.
The PTA also failed to provide documentation to the audit department relating to recovery of numbering charges. However, scrutiny of the summary/ledgers of the outstanding dues revealed that an amount of Rs8.664 million was not recovered in violation of the rules. Furthermore, penalty of 10 per cent was also neither imposed nor recovered.
The report said for all the irregularities mentioned, the PTA was notified and necessary directives were issued as corrective measures during the Departmental Accounts Committee (DAC) meetings. However, none of the directions were followed and no progress was reported till finalisation of this report.
According to the PTA spokesperson, the paras of the audit report were not final conclusions and they would be debated in the Public Accounts Committee meetings.
“Recovery is not slow and there are no embezzlements like the report hints. In fact recovery has not been made because these cases are pending in courts. Recoveries can only be made after courts settle the disputes,” he said.
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