A government bank collected Rs. 400 million from people of Pakistan for illegally charging them Rs. 23 as servicing charging on passport fee.
This was revealed during a Public Accounts Committee (PAC) meeting here on Tuesday while examining the audit objections of Ministry of Interior.
Secretary Interior informed the committee that National Bank of Pakistan had been charging Rs. 23 per application as servicing charging on passport fee, which didn’t come under any schedule and hence is illegal.
He explained that no approval for applying the charge on passport fee was sought from the government. Audit officials calculated that Rs. 400 million was received from people as servicing charges.
Secretary Interior said that the bank has shown its dissatisfaction even on Rs 23 services charges on passport fee.
In his ruling, Chairman Committee said that government bank should collect passport fee without any charges. He said that governments objectives should be focused on facilitation to people, not to plunder them. He added that it would be better for ministry and bank to revisit the passport fee.
Chairman further suggested that private commercial banks should also be permitted to collect passport fee.
Director General Passport revealed to the committee that Rs 22 billion revenue was generated through issuance of 4.5 million passports in current year.
Meanwhile PAC endorsed the demand of Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) for holding audit of government funds released to secret security agencies.
Auditor General of Pakistan argued that his office carried audit of secret funds but the authority was withdrawn through invoking AGP ordinance 2013. He said his office request to IB for audit was turned down on the basis that they could not hold audit under the audit ordinance. Ministry of Law and Attorney General of Pakistan Office had same recommendations, he added.
Quoting Supreme Court of Pakistan’s judgment, he said the apex court permitted AGP to hold audit of any government organizations. The committee directed AGP to take the matter to apex court. He further disclosed that no public sector government bank was ready for audit from AGP; therefore, they were ready to take the matter to the court.