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Probe ordered into Benazir Income Support Programme graft cases
Sunday January 12, 2014 8:28 PM, IANS

The Pakistani government has decided to investigate alleged cases of financial mismanagement and corruption committed in the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP).

Enver Baig, who heads the BISP, discussed the matter with National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chief Chaudhry Qamar Zaman last week, the Dawn reported Sunday.

Instances of violation of public procurement rules, induction of employees on the basis of personal whims, poor book-keeping, and flouting of procedures laid down for use of public money have forced the current management of the programme to get these cases investigated by the NAB.

"The magnitude of financial mismanagement and corruption have forced us to enlist NAB's help. We will use its technical expertise for investigation and bring the culprits to book," a BISP official said.

The official added the BISP management has decided to approach the NAB to sift through documentary evidence which, according to preliminary findings, made clear that financial irregularities were committed.

"We have records in the BISP that over the last five years Rs. 3.15 billion was paid under the head 'media campaign', but the office isn't in possession of payment details," the BISP official added.

The BISP, instituted under former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gillani, provides financial assistance to low-income families through bi-monthly cash payments.

It was started by the Pakistan People's Party (PPP)-led government, after consultation with former president Asif Ali Zardari, through an act of parliament in Oct 2008.

An amount of Rs. 165 billion has been spent, of which some 85 percent came from the government exchequer.

The rest came from donors in the form of loans, which the government must repay with interest.

Two PPP former prime ministers -- Yousuf Raza Gilani and Raja Pervez Ashraf -- are already facing charges of bypassing rules in spending public money before the NAB.

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