Karachi:Desperate to get ICC funds released, cash-strapped Pakistan Cricket Board governing council has approved the controversial audit reports for 2007 and 2008.
PCB governing council members passed the reports after they were told by the board chairman Ejaz Butt that without approval to these reports, ICC would not release nearly $60 million due to Pakistan as share of various tournaments.
"The members were put in a tight spot although some of them were unhappy with the fact that none of the objections raised by the auditors were dealt with properly," one council member said. "The former chairman of the board, Nasim Ashraf, despite several reminders didn't bother to reply to any query from the board on the 2007 and 2008 audit reports," he added.
Butt told the council members that although he had sent the accounts to the ICC for release of the funds, council's approval to those were mandatory. Otherwise, the ICC would not release funds which the board badly needed to meet its budgetary deficit.
"The situation is that Butt submitted the budget for 2009-10 after a nearly five months delay and the budget shows that the board will earn around Rs 83 crore but because of its expenses it has a deficit of around Rs 60 crore," the member said.
The council also approved a budget of Rs 145 crore for the current fiscal year.
Wazir Ali Khoja, a member of the council told media that the chairman had been told to use government channels to get the previous board officials to respond and clear up the discrepancies pointed out by the auditors in the previous accounts.
"The chairman had been given full authority to take up this matter with the government," he said.
Interestingly, while the old accounts show a payment of Rs one million was made to former batsman Ejaz Ahmed junior by the board in 2007 the batsman himself called up the board to claim he never received the full payment.
The council also approved the audited accounts to be taken up by influential Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly led by opposition leader Chaudhary Nisar Ahmed.
"There will be lot of dirt flying around the day the PAC studies and discusses the board's financial affairs," a member said.
The sports ministry has already expressed reservations to the board over the heavy payments being made to players through the central contracts system.