MUZAFFARGARH: A massive pension scam has been unearthed in Muzaffargarh district of Punjab, committed by the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) officials, Daily Times has learnt. The mega scam has been revealed by Anwaar Chishti, district account officer-1 of Muzaffargarh. It is learnt that a total of about Rs 500 million have been fraudulently taken out of the government exchequer in pension payments since last three years by a group of NBP employees. Chishti was recently appointed in Muzaffargarh who initiated the post audit of manual pension payments, which was not being done since long. It has been learnt that there was a grave negligence on account of the treasury officials of the district accounts office who never bothered to execute post audit of the pension vouchers, which led to the fraud. Accounts Officer Mumtaz Qaisrani who was in charge of the assignment has been suspended by the finance secretary and an inquiry has been initiated against those involved in criminal negligence. Accountant General of Punjab Zaffar Hassan Reza has initiated a new policy of sending young civil servants in the field offices. However, the trend is not appreciated by the traditional officers who are not used to perform any financial discipline or pre-audit checks. Presently, some districts of southern Punjab including Bahawalpur and Jhang besides Muzaffargarh have been handed over to the officers. However, the accountant general is standing firm over his stance of building better accountability mechanism for payments and putting right people at right places. Chishti has not only unearthed the scam but also facilitated the agencies including the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to carry out the criminal investigation into the matter. Chishti said that the accounts office record was being computerised after the revelation of scandal and it would be completed within a month. Sources said that the director general of the NAB Multan also encouraged the young officer who by stepping forward presented the case to the bureau while being the complainant himself. After accepting the plea of the officer, NAB has written to the AG Punjab for holding any transfer plans of Anwar Chishti as the bureau shall need his expertise in resolution of the case. Moreover, the accountant general has briefed the Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) over the issue and steps taken in this regard. The auditor general praised the efforts of the young officer and has accented to raise the issue with the Senate’s standing committee.