Audit Exposes Mega Scam In PML-N Laptop Scheme

LaptopThe Punjab government spread 110,000 laptops to university students across the province to increase the popularity among the youth just a year before the 2013 General Elections. Papers available revealed that the price of a laptop was mentioned as Rs 20,000 as official for a dual-core Dell machine by the Provincial Development Working Party in 2011. After two months the PC of that scheme was improved and the laptop price was enhanced from Rs 20,000 to Rs 37,950 per laptop without changing the original terms. Consequently, the prices were increased without any justification, leading a direct loss of Rs 2 billion to the public exchequer.

The rate of excise duty at the rate of 1 percent written in the commercial invoice is equal to original cost as per Laptop that is Rs 20,000. Moreover, it was observed that 110,000 laptops at Rs 37,700 each, valuing Rs 4.1 billion was bought from M/S Inbox Pvt (Ltd). Though, advance income tax was not deducted because the payment of advance tax at import stage under the SRO 947/(I)/2008 was exempted. Though, neither income tax at the rate of 3.5 percent amounting to Rs 140 million was deducted nor it was recovered from the contractor, causing heavy losses yet again.

The lowest rates of M/S Inbox (Pvt) Ltd were accepted. As per L.C No 2(67) imported by non-profit creation educational and research institutions are free from payment of sales tax. Higher Education Department is also exempt from payment of advance tax under SRO 947(I)/2008. the rate of 1 percent of Excise duty is also exempted under Sixth Schedule [Section 13(1) table-1(Sr. No. 52)]. Contrary to all these exemption, Rs 102 per laptop in term of other taxes/duties were included in the final discounted price of Rs 37,700 per laptop. No government orders in justification of claim for other taxes or duties were available on proof. This was assumed “irregular” by authorities and therefore one more loss of Rs 11 million was caused.

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