LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Monday began an inquiry into the spending of Rs.20 million ($200,000), which it said was not accounted for during the tenure of former chairman Zaka Ashraf. The decision was taken during the sixth meeting of the PCB management committee, presided by PCB chief Sethi, held at the Gaddafi Stadium. Shaharyar M Khan, Shakil Shaikh, Zaheer Abbas, Iqbal Qasim and Subhan Ahmad attended the meeting. The spending relates to Ashraf’s rocky 22-month tenure, during which time he was suspended by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) before being restored to the post twice and finally sacked again. The musical chairs at the top of the PCB, which has seen the chairmanship alternate between Ashraf and veteran journalist Sethi, has led to widespread ridicule both at home and abroad.
Yesterday’s move came after the compilation of an internal audit report, according to a board statement. “The management committee took note of the outstanding arrears of approximately Rs.20 million detailed in the internal audit report for the period Ashraf was chairman,” the statement said, adding the committee would attempt to recover the sum. Ashraf was first appointed chairman in October 2011 but later suspended by a court over ‘dubious’ elections. After a new national government took office in 2013, Ashraf fell out of favour. He lost his post for a third time after a Supreme Court order last week which restored Sethi, an appointee of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The case will be heard at length in the Supreme Court on Tuesday (today). It was reported in the electronic media yesterday that Ahmad Raza Khan Kasuri would be representing Ahsraf in the Supreme Court. Kasuri is a member of the Musharraf-led All Pakistan Muslim League political party.
The internal audit report, shows several unaccounted ticket purchases during Pakistan’s 2012-13 tour of India and during the ICC Champion’s Trophy in England in June last year. “Tickets worth of Rs.759,047 ($7,600 dollars) were bought by the PCB and there is no record of whom they were given to. Another Rs.2.5 million ($25,000) were spent during the Champions Trophy 2013 on tickets, again without records of the beneficiaries,” the report stated. With international cricket teams refusing to play in Pakistan since an attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in 2009, the PCB has been hard pressed for income. Ashraf has denied any wrongdoing and termed the allegations ‘a smear campaign’. The management committee members also unanimously endorsed Sethi’s request to the Ministry of Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) to promulgate the new democratic PCB Constitution at the earliest and subsequently conduct the elections without delay.
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