Inquiry body expanded
6 December 2007
Muzaffarabad: The Azad Kashmir government has inducted a fourth member in a committee to probe alleged financial irregularities into a festival held in Mirpur earlier this year. According to a notification issued here by the Services and General Administration Department, Mr Farooq Hussain Gardezi, additional accountant-general of the AJK, has been inducted into the inquiry committee initially constituted on Aug 21. It comprises secretary works (chairman), additional secretary S&GAD and additional secretary finance (budget). The festival was held in the southern lakeside city of Mirpur from April 8 to 14 to promote tourism and economic activities in AJK and strengthen its ties with Pakistan. Raja Yasin Khan, adviser to the AJK prime minister on information and home, was chairman of the festival committee. The government was told that the expenditures on holding the festival would be around Rs25 million which would be generated through commercial sponsorships. A proposal was later moved by the chairman of the festival committee in the cabinet meeting of March 15, contending that Rs900 million in the account of the Collector Land Acquisition Mirpur should be invested in some lucrative financial schemes and without utilising the principal amount, the advance profit generated on it be given to the festival committee to meet the expenses. The cabinet meeting, according to a copy of its minutes, was told that “this amount would be returned after the generation of funds through sponsorships”. According to officials, over Rs23 million was generated as advance profits while more than Rs2 million were arranged through sponsorships and Rs25 million was spent on the festival, the sources said. A notification issued on Aug 21 had asked the committee to submit its ‘recommendations’ in 15 days. But a later notification allowed it two months to submit its findings.