Audit firm representative records statement in Dr Asim case

Daily Times
May 15, 2016


KARACHI: The prosecution witness in the Dr Asim Hussain case said on Saturday that a team of auditors that audited the accounts of the Ziauddin Hospital did not find any discrepancy or element of fraud during the audit.

Raheel Shahnawaz, prosecution witness from the auditors Partner M/s BDO Ebrahim (Pvt) Company, said during a hearing at the Court-IV of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) here on Saturday that the auditors did not find any discrepancy in the income and the expenses of the hospital owned by Hussain; therefore, they issued him a certificate of audit verification. He said that they issued a letter of thanks to the hospital staff for their cooperation. Shahnawaz said that hospital’s sources of funding and its expenses were checked strictly.

Had the auditors found any suspicious transaction, he said, they would have mentioned it in the audit report.

Shahnawaz, who was appointed by his firm to audit the accounts of the Ziauddin Hospital as a commercial organisation, not as a charitable trust, answered the questions raised by the defence counsel.

He said the NAB investigation officer asked him during the investigation whether the hospital was a charitable trust or a commercial organisation. He said he told the investigator that Ziauddin Hospital was a commercial organisation and it was not enjoying any special tax relief or incentives as a trust. During a cross-examination by the defence counsel, Shahnawaz said that he had been working with his current employer since 2010 and submitted his audit reports for the years 2010 to 2014. He said that his audit team and he visited Ziauddin Hospital, but never met or saw Hussain there.

Replying to a question, Shahnawaz said that certain audit standards were being followed worldwide, but definition of the terms used in the audit system changed from time to time.

He said that he joined the audit firm in 2010; therefore, he did not know the background of the hospital beyond this year. He told the defence counsel that the auditors did not find any irregularities in the accounts of the hospital. He said that no fraud or concealment was detected nor mentioned in the audit report. The court adjourned the hearing until May 21.