NAB to take action against NTS

ISLAMABAD: National Accountability Bureau (NAB) took initiative to investigate the corruption scandal of NTS, revealed by the report of Auditor General of Pakistan.
National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has demanded a verified copy of the report from the Auditor General. Chairman NAB will permit the inquiry after analyzing the report.

The Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) had launched special audit of the National Testing Service (NTS). The audit report disclosed that NTS was functioning without rules, policies, and corporate strategies. There was long standing misuse of funds of billions of rupees and even questions over its legality had also been raised.

In October 2016, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology’s (CIIT) board of governors, (BoG) through Higher Education Commission (HEC), had requested the audit of NTS. This is the first time that NTS is being audited by AGP since its commencement in 2013.

The NTS Chief Operating Officer (COO) Dr Sherzada Khan has denied all the findings and said that replies of the objections has been sent to the AGP, but refused to share a copy.
The audit report read that NTS was established as a project of CIIT without obtaining the approval of the board of governors (BoG). Even the ordinance of CIIT did not allow the establishment of such a company.

The auditor stated: “Formation of a company by the employees of CIIT was irregular and unauthorized.” The CIIT transferred assets worth Rs. 685 million to NTS without approval from the BoG. It was not informed, neither at the time of establishment nor during the transfer of the assets. However, COO declared that BoG’s approval was gained for the transfer and establishment.
Audit report revealed that Rs. 235 million was paid against advertising charges to the selected firms without open competition. Moreover, advertising cost was charged from the candidates.

It was also observed that NTS management had neither prepared procurement rules nor followed the government’s rules to maintain transparency. The COO replied that NTS has its own rules, government rules could not be applied to it.
It was also found that NTS paid Rs.115 million to invigilators hired without any formal agreement, while nothing of the sort was approved by the NTS’ BoD. NTS had also received Rs. 6.4 billion in its various accounts without any devised mechanism and there was no system to keep data of project-wise financial details.

While replying to this objection, Sherzada said, “We could not open separate accounts for hundreds of projects so we preferred to open a few and utilize them.”
On February 27, 2002 NTS was described as the project of management committee of COMSATS. In 2003 NTS was registered with Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan. However, the audit report reveals that COMSATS Ordinance 2000 did not permit such company.