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KARACHI: Transparency International Pakistan (TIP) has drawn the attention of Chief Minister Balochistan to the allegations of violation of QPPRA rules by provincial Agriculture & Cooperatives Department in procurement of track type tractors (bulldozers). “We have received a complaint about the violation of QPPRA rules by Agriculture & Cooperatives Department, Government of Baluchistan in the Tender No. 8180 for the procurement of track type tractors (Bulldozers),” TIP Vice Chairman former Justice Nasira Iqbal stated in a letter to Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan. TIP stated: “The complainant M/s Multiline Enterprises has made numerous allegations which suggested that tenders for the procurement of track type tractors (bulldozers) at an estimated cost of Rs 500 million, were invited in September 2020, by the Agriculture & Cooperatives Department, Government of Balochistan, Tender No. 8180. Two bids were received and opened on 26 October 2020, and the financial bids of the two bidders were announced to be opened on 27, January 2021. “However, on 27 January 2021, financial bids opening was postponed/ deferred vide Agriculture & Cooperatives Department, Government of Baluchistan, letter No. P&D 297-304 dated 25-01-2021. In the meantime, the bid security of the tender expired on 26 January 2021.

“On 2nd February 2021, by ordinary mail, the complainant company received a letter from the Agriculture & Cooperatives Department, Government of Baluchistan, dated 21 January 2021, addressed to two bidders, requesting for the extending the Bid Security for further 90 days as per BPPRA Rules 2014, Rule No 30.

“M/s Multiline Enterprises was harassed by M/s Allied Engineering & Services (PVT) Ltd who made false allegations against them of being blacklisted by Ministry of Defence Productions. Ministry of Defence Production did categorically denied any blacklisting of Multiline Enterprises. But the department did not take any action against M/s Allied Engineering, for misleading the department by making false allegations on the complainant company, which proves illegal nexus of Department with M/s Allied Engineering & Services (PVT) Ltd. Even the redressel Committee rejected the complaint of M/s Multiline Enterprises.

“TIP examined the documents submitted by the complainant, and assessed the complaint and made its observations, which suggested that according to documents submitted, and Pakistan Postage Record, request of department sent to two bidders dated 21 January 2021, is backdated/or deliberately mailed on 2nd Feb. 2021 ( date stamped by Post Office), after 10 days, as the envelop addressed to complainant by the department. “As per Rule 30, the extension of bid validity shall be asked prior to the expiry of original bid validity period, but due to this manipulated act of department, the tendering process came to an end. Bid security extension letter is required from the bank, which is to be forwarded to department by the bidders. The department did not state that it has received the banks extension of bid security for further 90 days.

“The department should have taken action against M/s Allied Engineering & Services (PVT) Ltd for misleading it against complainant, under Rule No 2(n), which is defined as corruption and corrupt practices under QPPRA Rule No 2 (n) sub rule , (iv) —fraudulent practice! means any act or omission, including a misrepresentation, that knowingly or recklessly misleads, or attempts to mislead, a party to obtain a financial or other benefit or to avoid an obligation; and obstructive practice means harming or threatening to harm, directly or indirectly, persons or their property to influence their participation in a procurement process.

“Under Rule 43, single bid (2) Single bid may be considered for acceptance if it meets the evaluation criteria expressed in bidding documents and is not in conflict with any other rules, regulations or policy of the government. The price may be compared with the prevailing market prices, if so required. “This procurement is in violation of Rule 2(n), and quoted price by single bidder is Rs 43.478M/bulldozer, which is 60 % higher than Bulldozers of same specifications, procured by Government of Sindh in 2021 at cost of Rs 27.56/bulldozer. “The procurement committee knew that two offered Bulldozers, Caterpillar and Shantwi 18 China Bulldozers are technically approved by the Committee meeting the specifications, and that Shantwi 18 China Bulldozer market price of 2021 in Pakistan is Rs 27.56 M, but it did not include Shantwi 18 price in the market report it prepared for the award on contract to M/s Allied Engineering & Services (PVT) Ltd. This is a blatant violation of BPPRA Rules 2014. “Prima facia, it appeared that there is collusion between the department and M/s Allied Engineering & Services (PVT) Ltd, which may cause millions of rupees loss to exchequer.”

While making recommendations, TIP informed CM, that it is the fourth tender for same procurement of Bulldozers, in last 5 years, and why CM did not took action against officers responsible for delay of 5 years in this procurement, when vide letter dated 24 December ,2019, TI Pakistan had informed the Chief Minister that, “This particular criteria is being used only to benefit certain bidder, as Balochistan Agriculture Department in the last 3 procurements shortlisted only one bidder which is Allied Engineering ( Caterpillar Agents), there was not any competition and all the major international manufacturers like Komatsu, New Holland, Dressta & Shantui were declared disqualified and were not considered in the competition. It requested Chief Minister to investigate the allegations in light of TI Pakistan’s Observations, and if the allegations prove to be correct, order the Agriculture & Cooperatives Department to discharge the tenders, take action against the bidder who made “false” complaint to the Department, which is against the BPPRA Rules 2014, Rule 2 (n), re-invite tenders, and also responsible officers shall be made accountable for these serious violations, which may have caused millions of rupees loss to exchequer by award of contract on single highly inflated priced bid.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021