ISLAMABAD: The Defence secretary has directed all the subordinate departments under the Ministry of Defence to strictly adhere to the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) Rules 2004; otherwise, the heads of departments or organisations will be held responsible, documents available with The News reveal.

The Defence Ministry has been facing grilling in the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) when reports of non-compliance of PPRA rules were reported in its sub-ordinate departments, especially the Defence Housing Authority. It is worth mentioning here that the DHA had been claiming that the PPRA rules do not apply on it, but the Pakistan Army’s Adjutant General’s recent letter dated February 15, 2011, has told DHA that PPRA rules do apply on DHAs.

The principal accounting officer of the Defence Ministry in his letter bearing UO No 2/2/D-18/2009 dated Jan 31, 2011, has written to the director general Inter-Services Intelligence, MAG, Rawalpindi, Surveyor General, Survey of Pakistan; DG, ML&C Department, Rawalpindi; DG, Pak Met Department, H-8/2, Islamabad; DG, PASB, Rawalpindi; DG, ASF, Karachi; DG, MSA, KDLB Bldg, Karachi; director, FGRI (C/G) Dte. Rawalpindi; Director (Admin), JSHO, Chaklala; DG, SD Dte, GHQ, Rawalpindi; E-in-C Branch (EIE), GHQ, Rawalpindi; DCA, NHQ, Islamabad; DCP, AHQ, Peshawar; DG CAA and MD PIAC, Karachi that PPRA rules were not being observed in a few departments which was a serious concern.

The letter says, “Reference Ministry of Defence n.o. note of even number dated July 4, 2010, circuiting National Assembly Secretariat (PAC Wing) Circular No F.(1)2010-PAC dated 21st June, 2010.

Deputy Director General (Defence Service Audit) has observed that Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) Rules 2004 are not being observed in different entities of the Ministry of Defence in letter and spirit. This has been viewed with concern by the Principal Accounting Officer i.e. Defence secretary.

The Public Accounts Committee vide their letter No F.1.(1)2010-PAC, dated 21-06-2010 made similar observation.It is reiterated that the PPRA Rules must be observed in their perspective in letter & spirit while making procurements. Violation of those rules will be viewed seriously and Head of Department/Organisation will be held responsible for the same.”

Moreover the Adjutant General of Pakistan Army in his letter bearing no 05/MoD/PPRQ/WR-7; General Headquarters AG’s Branch (W&R Dte) dated February 15, 2011, has also written to DHAs regarding the implementation of PPRA rules.

It is worth mentioning here that Transparency International Pakistan had also written to Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani in April 2010, asking the COAS to direct the DHAs to implement PPRA Rules to bring transparency in its procurements. TI-Pakistan had written in its letter that the ‘Pakistan Armed Forces reputation was at stake due to the action of a few army officers of the DHA, HIT, FWO, NLC and other Army procuring agencies due to violation of procurement rules and that corruption by armed forces officers endangers the very existence of the country which may result in the procurement of sub-standards arms due to conflict of interest, and for personal gains over the national cause by a few individuals.’

The Public Accounts Committee, on numerous occasions, has also directed the Defence Ministry to implement the PPRA rules to bring transparency in its deals that it conducts from the public money.Observers like TI-Pakistan term the recent development as a good omen towards transparency in military deals.