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ISLAMABAD: Transparency International - Pakistan (TI-P) has raised questions on contracts of four mega projects of $ 6 billion awarded by Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda). In a letter to Auditor General of Pakistan, Javaid Jahangir, TI-P stated that in May 2020 it received a complaint that Wapda has awarded four contracts, "irregularly" in violation of PPRA Rules 2004, worth over $ 6 billion.

On May 30, 2020, TI-P in its observations, wrote to Managing Director PPRA seeking its views, with a copy sent to the Supreme Court of Pakistan, with a request to take action under the rules. PPRA has not yet responded to these serious allegations.

On October 19, 2020, Business Recorder reported that the Auditor General of Pakistan had alleged that the contract of Mohmand Hydropower Project to M/s CGGC-DESCON (JV) was awarded without adequate fair competition. The AGP, in its audit report of FY 2019-20, said that as per clarification of PPRA "whenever a procuring agency is confronted with such a situation whereby the rate quoted by a single bidder cannot be compared so as to declare it as the lowest rate or otherwise, it may make prudent decision." TI-P maintains that the complainant has not only raised issues with Mohmand Dam contract awarded to M/s CGGC-DESCON (JV), but has also made allegations on the award of four contracts by Wapda.

The letter states that since the last two years Wapda does not have a permanent Member Water and Member Power, and during these two years four contracts have been awarded in violation of PPRA Rules.

Wapda and Nespak are two organizations of Ministry of Water and Ministry of Energy, respectively. Secretary Power is also the Chairman of Nespak whereas Secretary Water is also the Board Member of PPRA.

According to the TI-P as such awarding contracts to Nespak amounts to conflict of interest. The four contacts are listed as follows: (i) contract for Consultancy Services for Construction Design, Construction Supervision and Construction Management of Mohmand Dam; (ii) contract for Consultancy Services for Construction Design, Constriction Supervision and Construction Administration of Diamer Bhasha Dam Project; (iii) contract for Construction of Mohmand Dam Project; and (iv) contract for construction of Diamer Bhasha Dam Project.

WAPDA is the largest employer of engineers, and according to regulation 9, evaluation committee of three members from Wapda is to be formed. And only on non-availability of in-house expertise the procuring agency may engage outside appropriate sources. But this is not the case when Wapda has hundreds of in-house experts. TI-P questions why PPRA allowed its officer to join Wapda evaluation committee, when PPRA Ordinance does not permit it and why PPRA acted against its own Law, and became a party with WAPDA and performed line clearance functions for awarding of contracts.

"All the four contracts were awarded on single bid basis, without determining competitive rates," TI-P stated.