Irregular spending of Rs.2.43 crore by MEA: Auditor

New Delhi, July 10 ( The ministry of external affairs (MEA) made irregular expenditure of Rs.2.43 crore at its missions and posts abroad, India’s audit watchdog said in its report tabled in parliament Friday.

Of this, the Indian Consul General in Hamburg spent Rs.1.27 crore, the missions in Dushanbe, Kiev and Oslo spent Rs.57.98 lakh, while missions in 11 other cities between them spent Rs.58.10 lakh, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India said.

The report found a major irregularity in the recruitment of three Indians for the Hamburg mission in 2002-03 in contravention of MEA guidelines as there had been no prior advertisement in the local German newspapers and neither was there any criteria for candidate qualifications.

The audit report also noted that the then consul general had shown “a great deal of personal interest” in recruiting from India by directly corresponding with the prospective candidates.

Further, the diplomat had helped two of the three employees get a “mini job” after office hours – again in contravention of MEA directions.

One employee had resigned just nine months after his appointment but the consul general did not take up his deportation despite such laid down rules.

In another case, the CAG pointed out that the appointment of India-based chauffeurs had led to extra expenditure of nearly Rs.57.98 lakh during a three-year period in Indian missions in Norway, Ukraine and Tajikistan.

“The expenditure incurred in deployment of India-based chauffeurs in these stations was far in excess of expenditure on local chauffeurs. These Indian drivers were handicapped as they did not speak the local language, were not aware of local driving conditions and had no knowledge of geographic locations,” the report said.

“In light of the above, MEA may review deployment of India-based chauffeurs abroad with a view to effecting greater economies,” it added.

The report also pointed out that Indians missions in Johannesburg, Suva, Ankara, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Bahrain, Dar-es-Salaam, Tripoli, Khartoum, Lusaka and Islamabad continued to pay staff from contingency funds in disregard of rules and specific instructions by the ministry.

This had led to unauthorised expenditure of Rs.58.10 lakh, the report added.