sangai newspaper

Manipur News | Imphal, March 29 2019: The Tourism Corporation Manipur Limited (TCML) was set up with the primary objective of giving a thrust to the State’s tourism sector but there is a strong suspicion that TCML has misappropriated several crores within just two years or so.

It is said that two rock bands based in the USA were invited to the SHIROCK musical concert which was organised as a part of the State level Shirui Festival held in Ukhrul district for five days in April last year.

Even though Rs 3,07,45,270 was sanctioned to pay for the two rock bands, no relevant documents could be produced at the time of audit.

TCML is a company set up under the Tourism Department and it is headed by a Managing Director.

Expenditures and activities of TCML were audited by a team of the Principal Accountant General (Audit) for the period starting from July 13, 2016 to August 31, 2018, sources informed.

The audit team went through the accounts of the TCML Managing Director from January 14 to 24 this year.

N Ashokumar served as TCML’s Managing Director from October 29, 2016 to August 11, 2017. PK Singh took charge as Managing Director from August 12, 2017 to May 15, 2018 and he was succeeded by Nidhi Kesarwani who has been serving as the Managing Director from May 16, 2018 till date.

There have been four Drawing Disbursing Officers (DDOs) from August 12, 2016 till date.

During the audit, an account of spending Rs 3,07,45,270 on the two rock bands invited to SHIROCK was tabled. The amount was drawn using four cheques.

The first cheque was used to draw Rs 9,87,000 and this amount was used in buying US dollars through a travel agency.

The second cheque drew Rs 22,86,288 and the amount was also given to travel agency for buying US dollars.

The third cheque amounted to Rs 2,29,21,982 and the amount was handed over to the Ukhrul DC for advance payment.

The fourth cheque amounting to Rs 45,50,000 was meant for final payment to M/s SHIROCK.

But no relevant documents such as expenditure sanction, details of organiser, procedure of selecting organiser, expenditure vouchers etc for spending such a huge amount of over Rs 3.07 crore could be produced during the audit, said the sources.

The same audit team did not find any relevant document such as sanction order, utilisation certificate, vouchers, tender documents, detail estimate etc for another Rs 4.2973 crore purportedly spent organising Shirui Lily Festival.

Moreover, the audit team discovered withdrawal of Rs 33 lakh by TCML using self-cheques in total defiance of all the rules and regulations of the State Finance Department.

Pointing out that Government funds are public money, the audit team has recommended the higher authority to look into this act of withdrawing a huge amount fraudulently and book all the culprits.

Since March 13, 2008, DDOs were prohibited from drawing money using self-cheques and there is an instruction that any DDO who defies this prohibition is liable to punitive action under the Manipur Public Servants Personal Liability Act 2006.It is was also detected that the Light and Sound Show project of Kangla whose total estimated cost was Rs 7.6878 crore could not be implemented in time as due tender could not be completed in time.

In the course of the audit, it was found that Rs 4,65,000 was paid as honorarium to three contract managers, one consultant (public relation) and one office assistant of TCML in contradiction to the terms and conditions of their contract.

As such, the audit team has recommended the higher authority to recuperate the amount from the staff concerned, conveyed the source.

Source: The Sangai Express

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