PESHAWAR: The political agents in different agencies of the Federally Administered Tribal Area have been flouting the law and order of the governor and Fata Civil Secretariat with impunity to bring transparency in the collection of fines from the tribesmen and utilisation of the same, according to sources.
The political agents and their subordinates act on their own sweet will and do not bother to listen to others when it comes to collection of fines under different heads and utilisation of funds accumulated under this head.
A letter of the Fata Civil Secretariat on behalf of the governor addressed to all political agents and deputy commissioners of frontier regions shows gravity of the situation and the extent to which the political agents violate the law.
The letter said that the concerned political agents did not maintain proper record of the fines recovered by the administration in different tribal agencies and frontier regions under various heads of account.
“This practice creates a sense of deprivation and agitation amongst the tribal people and they (people) feel that the money/fines collected are utilised for the vested interest of the authorities,” said the letter.
Not maintaining record of collection, utilisation of fines despite order of governor, Fata Civil Secretariat
An official told Dawn that the secretariat issued reminders to the concerned political agents and sent them set of guidelines to regulate financial matters, but to no avail. He said that record of millions of rupees recovered from the tribal people on account of fines under different heads was not maintained.
“They (political agents) don’t take the governor’s directives serious and consider themselves above the law,” said the official. He said that fines were being collected from local people on account of crimes and disputes, but political authorities did not submit record to the secretariat.
“Standard practice in the tribal areas is that officials in the office of political agents collect fines on charges of violation of collective and territorial responsibility or petty crimes from the locals without issuing proper receipts,” said another official.
This is worth mentioning that auditor general or any other federal authority has no access to check record of these funds.
Auditor General of Pakistan Rana Assad Amin during meeting with Governor Sardar Mahtab Ahmad Khan had suggested establishing audit offices and appointment of permanent staff in all tribal agencies last week.
Under the amended version of the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) in 2011, it is binding upon the political agents to maintain proper record of the fines recovered from the tribal people.
Section 58(1) of the FCR says that registers shall be kept and maintained, in forms to be approved by the governor, of all cases dealt with by the political agent or deputy commissioners, as the case may be, the appellate authority and the Fata Tribunal under this regulation.
Sub Section (2) of the same section says that the record of all sums received as fines under this regulation and disbursed by the political agents or the deputy commissioners, as the case may be, shall be maintained and accounted for, which shall be audited annually.
The secretariat on the directives of the governor had framed rules for maintenance of the record of sums recovered on account of fines, but these rules are not followed.
The fresh guidelines issued to the political agents said that the governor had approved standing orders for dispensation of recovered Cess levied by the political administrations on various items on its transportation to their respective areas of jurisdiction should be taken into account and implemented to regulate the funds.
The letter directed that fines recovered under Section 12 and 22 of FCR by the political administration shall be treated under Section 57 of FCR. “The fines recovered under executive authority of the political agents shall be properly recorded in cash book under proper receipt issued to the defaulters,” it added.
The governor’s directives said that such fines recovered under the executive authority shall be deposited in the government treasury under proper head.
Similarly, salaries of Levies and Khasadar personnel, (tribal police) should be computerised and paid through banks. Cash withdrawal of it by drawing and disbursement officer (DDO) should be stopped immediately.