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Monday, September 21, 2020

Irregularities in appointment of auditors: SGPC senior vice-president

A probe ordered by the Akal Takht found that no audit was conducted in the publication department from where 328 Birs of Guru Granth Sahib are missing.

Written by Kamaldeep Singh Brar | Amritsar | August 26, 2020 10:17:59 am
Irregularities in appointment of auditors: SGPC senior vice-presidentSGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal said he was yet to read the probe report and would comment only after doing so.

In case of any external inquiry regarding an internal audit of the Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), S S Kohli & Associates, the firm hired by SGPC for internal audits in 2009, would issue a general certificate that would say: “We report that we have been appointed as pre-auditors of SGPC and gurdwaras under Section 85. We have set up a complete pre-audit system in SGPC and gurdwaras which we are auditing all income and expenditures before the same is incurred by SGPC and its gurdwaras. The objections so found are reported on the vouchers and the payment is made only on removal of those objections. No payment is made without pre-audit. This way we are able to audit and correct the transactions before they are made rather than making a report later on. We also apprise the management from time to time about any changes that are required in the systems for which we have given suggestion from time to time.”

If this were true, an audit of the publication department of SGPC was supposed to be a routine affair. However, a probe ordered by the Akal Takht found that no audit was conducted in the publication department from where 328 Birs of Guru Granth Sahib are missing and 186 other Birs were published with resources of department without SGPC being in the know.

Asked what went wrong with the audit, S S Kohli, owner of the firm SGPC hired for internal audit, said, “I have submitted my reports. You should ask Akal Takht jathedar or SGPC president.”

SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal said he was yet to read the probe report and would comment only after doing so.

SGPC senior vice-president Rajinder Singh Mehta, said, “There has been serious negligence. Auditors are supposed to check store, stocks and bills. The matter of missing Birs must have come into notice if proper audit was conducted. There is a proper audit department in SGPC.”

Mehta was also a member of the executive committee that looked after SGPC affairs with Avtar Singh Makkar as president for 11 years from 2005 to 2016.

He further said, “I don’t know what was the reason behind Makkar sacking Kohli in 2014 and what forced Makkar to take him back. There were some irregularities in his first appointment in 2009 and it was the reason that proper procedure was followed for his reappointment second time. In 2010, Kohli came via proper channel. Advertisement was issued, interviews were conducted before his reappointment for second time. There were three more competitors from Delhi and Chandigarh, who had applied for auditor post. I know that Kohli was going out of competition and hence he had revised his rates offered to SGPC for audit.”

“I don’t know if there was any pressure on then president Makkar for Kohli’s reappointment. Makkar is no more now,” he further said.

Another executive committee member from Makkar’s 11-year-old term as president, Karnail Singh Panjoli, said, “Back in 2009, a private firm from Rajpura had offered SGPC that they would train our staff for internal audit in just one year. They had said that SGPC doesn’t need expensive private audit team. But their suggestion was turned down and Kohli was appointed by paying him heavy amount.”

He claimed, “SGPC clerical staff was much better than staff of the private auditors. I and another executive member Sukhdev Singh Bhuar had opposed appointment of Kohli. Makkar had sacked Kohli in anger as his actions were not liked by Makkar. I don’t know why Makkar reinstated Kohli. Kohli was never of any advantage to SGPC. His firm is a burden on SGPC. Around Rs 1 crore is spend every year on audit with no result.”

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