An audit of USC for the previous fiscal year has revealed that there are 9,756 employees working in the Utility Stores Corporation (USC) in 42 regions against the sanctioned or authorized strength of 7,662.
According to the audit report, these 2,094 extra employees are adding to the burden on the already cash-deficient organization.
The USC had refrained from sharing details about these extra employees with the auditors, which indicates that they are likely to be ghost employees. The auditors have recommended an independent inquiry into the matter to assign responsibility for it.
The audit report mentioned that “[the] budget under the head of salary and wages was not being allocated to zonal/regional offices as per sanctioned/available strength”. It also detailed that the USC had extended undue favors to irregular employees, and had added the cost of salaries amounting to millions of rupees to the national exchequer, which suggested weak internal control.
However, the management of the USC has defended these appointments and said that an agenda had been submitted to the company’s board of directors for the regularization of these employees and that its decision was still awaited.
The audit report also revealed that USC had recruited employees despite the period of ban on recruitments. The management had made 11 appointments in BS14 and BS16 on consolidated pay ranging between Rs. 20,000 and Rs. 40,000 per month in April 2011. Furthermore, these posts had not been advertised in newspapers and no relaxation on the ban had been obtained from the Establishment Division, which had been required under the criteria.
Additionally, an amount of Rs. 17.5 million had been paid until 30 June 2019 as salaries to the employees that had been appointed during the ban.