News Column

Audit exposes mega scam in PML-N laptop scheme

August 31, 2014

Grave financial irregularities, undue favouritism, misuse of official authority and corruption to the tune of billions of rupees have surfaced in the Punjab government’s laptop scheme launched in their previous term.

The Punjab government distributed 110,000 laptops to university students across the province allegedly to counter the rising popularity of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan among the youth just one year before the 2013 General Elections.

However, a special audit conducted by the government’s own wing - the Auditor General’s Office - pointed out serious corruption in the scheme.

The laptop distribution scheme was themed as, “Advancement of information technology amongst students through provision of laptop computers,” for the year 2011-12.

Documents available with a newspaper reveal that the price of one laptop was shown as Rs 20,000 as approved by the Provincial Development Working Party (PDWP) in October 2011 for a dual-core Dell machine. However, two months later, the PC-I of that scheme was revised and the laptop price was increased from Rs 20,000 to Rs 37,950 per piece without changing the original specifications.

Hence, the prices were jacked up without any justification, causing a direct loss of Rs 2 billion to the public exchequer.

Moreover, the project to enhance IT labs in Punjab schools - a project of the School Education Department - was rolled up and Rs 2 billion finances were diverted to the Higher Education Department (HED) for the laptop scheme without any provision under the rules.

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Source: Daily Regional Times (Pakistan)

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