PSL audit report cites significant discrepancies in season 1, 2

According to sources many contracts were awarded without a call for tenders

PSL audit report cites significant discrepancies in season 1, 2 PHOTO: AFP

In an audit carried out by the Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP), significant discrepancies have been revealed with regards to the first and second edition of Pakistan Super League (PSL).

According to Daily Express, due to prevailing cronyism within Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) quite a few major contracts were awarded without publishing a proper call for tenders during the first two seasons of PSL. If the contracts were given by following the correct procedures, the board’s financial gains would have improved considerably.

Sources have also said that many appointments on important positions were based on favouritism while production and ticketing matters were not handled properly.

The selections of Naila Bhatti — Director Marketing — and Usman Wahla — General Manager International Cricket Operations — were specifically mentioned. The audit raised questions over their appointments as far more qualified individuals were available to take up those roles.

It must be noted that Bhatti — who enjoyed a close relationship with former PCB Chairman Najam Sethi — was appointed as a director despite holding only a bachelor’s degree which is against the rules and regulations of PCB. Although it is not official yet but sources have said that she held a farewell meeting with her colleagues on the same day that Sethi submitted his resignation.

The sources further stated that the audit pointed out unnecessary expenses during the local and foreign visits made by board officials whereas there were also reservations over salaries and bonuses given to certain employees. The massive amounts spent on organising opening ceremonies were another major cause of concern.

Meanwhile Director of PCB’s security and Anti-corruption unit Col (retd) Mohammad Azam Khan’s failure to get No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Pakistan Army was also cited as a reason for dissent.

The audit report has been sent to Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) while Sethi has field his response on this issue, before resigning, with the AGP. Now it is expected that the PCB, AGP and IPC will convene a meeting to discuss the details of this issue.

Earlier Sethi did come under fire for not carrying out audit of PSL despite being asked by a National Assembly Committee to submit a detailed report regarding the revenues and expenses of the league. The board had only filed a two-page report in response to committee’s request.

It has also been reported that the federal government is keen on making this report public as it wants to communicate the facts about PSL to the entire nation. The move won’t be considered as ‘political victimisation’ as the audit was carried out before the new government took charge — after general elections in Pakistan.