In what he called a “white paper” apparently against his own government and the ministry that he was heading till recently, the Prime Minister’s Adviser on IT Sardar Latif Khosa has revealed that at least Rs50 billion are annually lost by the state and telecom companies due to the unchecked grey tariff, i.e. illegal network of international calls.
Forwarded to the Chairman National Assembly Standing Committee on IT, Khosa, who was recently deprived of being the Minister in charge of the IT Ministry, sought from the NA body to intervene to improve the prevailing situation in the affairs of IT and Telecom Division and its various entities.
Khosa signed the letter addressed to the Chairman NA body as Adviser to the PM on IT, but the letterhead he used clearly introduces him as a “federal minister”.
Khosa accused the PTA and the IT ministry to have been involved in this massive corruption. Khosa wrote: “A conservative estimate (of the loss due to grey traffic) is around 50 billion rupees per annum, which is not happening without involvement of officials of MOIT (Ministry of IT) and PTA.”
Khosa’s white paper says that countries like India and Bangladesh have recently taken strict measures against grey traffickers and have imposed fine of millions of dollars on those companies found involved in facilitating grey traffic. In-spite of the fact that strict/penalizing measures were taken in our neighbourhood, our department like PTA and MOIT never took any interest and grey traffickers boomed. Khosa informed the NA body that he has proposed to the ECC a strategy to curb the menace.
Regarding what he termed financial mismanagement of USF (Universal Service Fund) and information and communication technologies research and development (ICT R&D) Funds, Khosa said in his white paper that amounts of USF and ICT R&D funds should have been invested in the Risk Free Government Securities only, whereas, they have been investing in banks of the choice at commercial rates. “Advisor to the PM has found it as deviation of grave nature and so far, no further investments have been allowed, as minister in charge is scrutinizing the fiasco. It is pertinent to also mention that the Member Telecom has kept his brother-in-law Muhammad Idrees under him to manage the funds of USF & ICT R&D.”
Khosa added, “There were billions of outstanding contributions with operators as liability according to Telecom deregulation Act. I have instructed PTA and Ministry of IT to receive all pending payments from operators at the earliest so that this money can be utilized for the intended benefits.”
Khosa also charged the PTA with illegally placing Rs55 billion of IT Ministry in Federal Consolidated Fund, for which PTA was neither custodian nor it was PTA’s money. “This money shall be utilized for USF and ICT R&D Fund objectives. I directed Chairman PTA to get this money back to Ministry of IT and utilize it for the meant purposes.”
Khosa gave his detailed view of what he called the “illegal activities, prevailing in the Ministry of IT from last regime and were continuing in this regime with the help and support of bureaucracy. “I as Minister-in-Charge of IT took serious actions against malicious malfunctioning in different departments related with Ministry in best interest of Government and Citizens of Pakistan,” wrote Khosa, who, however, did not mention as to why then he was recently removed by the prime minister as minister-in-charge of the IT ministry.
Regarding the affairs of USF, he said that its board members have conflict of interest as major chunk of subsidized projects amounting to Rs10 billion were awarded to those companies who had their representation on the board of the USF Company. He said that one of the leading telecom company of Pakistan got projects over Rs7.7 billion without even contributing a single penny to the Fund.