An internal audit of Pakistan Railways (PR), beleaguered by cumulative losses of over ?28 billion and a number of corruption scandals, has pinpointed misappropriation of funds worth ?10 billion in its latest report.
According to the report, 4,148 acres of railway land in Dera Ghazi Khan sub-division Multan (Punjab province) worth ?4,147.8 million is no more in possession of the railways.
"It has been illegally occupied and some part of it sold in connivance with the railways officials," the report alleged, with fingers being pointed towards Pakistan's railway minister Khawaja Saad Rafique.
The audit report also points to another illegality in Pakstan Railways' irregular expenditure on account of 75 DE Locos project worth ?3,497.2 million. The audit says "unauthorised" reduction of approved scope of work and irregular transfer of material to other projects of railways caused a loss of ?1,300 million.
"Loss of revenue worth ?37.9 million due to un-authorisation of railway land besides unjustified payment of ?10 million on account of TA/DA has been made," the report said.
In another scandal, the management of four trains - Khushhal Khan Khattak (KKK) Express, Bolan Mail, Hazara Express and Fareed Express have allegedly been given to the favourites of the minister in violation of the rules.
According to the report, the railways has put the 'Public Procurement Rules 2004' on the back burner by amending articles of bid document while entering into an agreement for outsourcing the commercial management of these trains to the "favourite parties".
Saad Rafique, who is on a 20-day holiday trip to Europe, could not be reached for his comments.
Pakistan Railways chairperson Parveen Agha denied Rafique's involvement in the corruption scandals.
"The PR is trying to improve the state of affairs and will fix the responsibility on the officials involved in corruption," she said.
Pakistan Railways is in deep financial mess and its losses have surpassed ?28 billion.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had promised, during his election speeches, to turn around both Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and the Pakistan Railways.
However, no visible improvement has been witnessed in both organisations so far.
PIA is facing an accumulative loss of over ?300 billion while Pakistan Railways is still lagging behind to meet its deficit.