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Attock threatens to sue Lahore over audit advertisements
ATTOCK, Jan 1: The Punjab government’s move to publish newspaper advertisements about the alleged irregularities committed by the PML-backed Attock district government during the last three years (2005-08) is likely to flare up the running conflict between the two sides, it has been learnt.

The district government was already consulting lawyers about taking prompt legal action against the Punjab government, as it believed the act had damaged its credibility and public image without any proof.

Since the inception of the PML(N)-led Punjab government after last year’s elections, rifts have surfaced between the provincial and district setups over financial and administrative affairs.

Court battles are already being fought over recruitment of contract employees and approval of local budget.

“However, the issue of financial embezzlements in the wake of audit reports prepared by the Punjab government has opened a new front,” the sources said.

The Punjab government in an advertisement carried by an Urdu-language newspaper on December 28 informed the public that financial misappropriation and irregularities of Rs4.6 billion had been detected in the audit of 35 districts during 2005-08.

It claimed financial irregularities amounting to Rs217.07 million were unearthed in Attock district alone.

The Punjab government also stated in the report that the accused nazims were opting for unlawful means to avoid punishment and legal action. “Still the provincial government will recover the embezzled amount irrespective of any pressure,” it said.

Giving comments on the audit report, Attock Nazim Tahir Sadiq said the district government was issuing legal notices to the relevant quarters of the Punjab government for their “illegal and unjustified act”.

He said the special audit of the local governments’ financial affairs was illegal because it was ordered by the provincial administration. “Such audit can be ordered only by the district nazim, and we had allowed the recent activity just to let the (Punjab) government find out any corruption in our working,” he added.

Mr Sadiq was of the view that nazims could not indulge in corruption because the district coordination officers, who represented the provincial government, sanctioned the funds for different projects. He claimed that no allegations of embezzlement could be proved against him.

“The Punjab government is declaring audit paras as proven corruption, though they are just initial objections which are normally cleared through set legal procedure,” the nazim said.

Mr Sadiq argued that if audit objections were proven corruption, then according to PML-N leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, the federal governments from 1989 to date were facing 2,300 audit objections to the tune of Rs1.5 trillion. While the PML-N Punjab government of 1997-99 was also to clear audit objections of Rs43 billion, he said.
03-01-2009 22:55 Attock News
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