PD team testifies before Senate panel: World Bank begins probe into $300m project on Turkish co’s complaint
ISLAMABAD: The Power Division on Monday testified before a panel of Senate that the World Bank has started probe into $ 300 million contract of 765 kV double circuit transmission line project on the complaint of Turkish firm, SA-RA Energy, whose team recently visited the site of the project to verify facts.
This was revealed by Additional Secretary, Power Division, Zafar Abbas during a brawl between Chairman Standing Committee, Senator Saifullah Abro and Senator Bahramand Khan Tangi.
According to Power Division, Turkish firm had approached Integrity Vice Presidency (INT) against the contract LoT-1 of transmission line project worth $ 300 million awarded to Chinese firm M/s Synohydro Corporation.
World Bank had approved financing of $ 700 million for two lots of the project, which are under construction.
The World Bank’s six-member team recently visited Pakistan and the site of the project to authenticate the allegation levelled by the Turkish firm.
“The World Bank has started audit of the contract of Dasu double circuit transmission line. The project will further proceed after final report from INT,” said Zafar Abbas.
The World Bank’s Country Director, Najy Binhassine has already cleared the project along with shortcomings, with the warning that if the project is scrapped then funding of the project will be withdrawn.
The representative of Turkish firm, stated that there are a number of inadequacies in documents submitted by the Chinese company and M/s GOPA; and further contended that the Turkish firm suffered a financial loss in billions of dollars for challenging the contract of Dasu transmission line.
However, Chairman Senate Standing Committee, remarked that huge violations occurred in the award of contracts to disqualified firms for LoT-1(M/s Synohydro Corporation) and LoT-II (M/s Harbin Electric International) and Consultant (M/s GOPA Intec) for mala fide intent in the construction of 765 kV double circuit transmission line from Dasu hydro power station to Islamabad I/C grid station.
During discussion on the authority of World Bank with respect to endorsement or cancellation of the project, a verbal fight was witnessed between Chairman Standing Committee Senator Saifullah bro and Senator Bahramand Tangi, after the former accused the latter of s supporting Power Division as its lawyer.
However, after nearly two and half hour discussion, the Committee decided to convene an in-camera meeting so that a middle way may be found which would ensure that the World Bank does not withdraw funding and some relief be extended to the Turkish firm.
According to press release issued by Senate Secretariat, the committee took up the matter of NESPAK on the non-implementation regarding submission of re-evaluation report and status for ADB project for further consideration.
The NESPAK apprised the committee that the domestic preference given in the financial evaluation was based on EDB (Engineering Development Board) letter issued in February 2015 and the clarification should have been sorted for the usage of letter issued in February 2015 and the evaluation been done for the year 2022, which was not an appropriate action.
The committee was further apprised that the usage of letter was for the period of 6 months. The committee observed that a local company was given domestic preferences on the basis of this letter, which put the whole process in doubt.
The committee after deliberation at length on the matter unanimously resolved to recommend the matter by sending a note by NESPAK in consultation with the NTDC to the Lender (The Asian Development Bank) and intimate them of the letter on the basis of which they were technically qualified, however the letter is of 2015 and was for valid for only 6 months therefore holds infructuous due to lapse of 5 years.
The committee deferred the matter and further instructed the NESPAK and NTDC of sharing of the note within 3 days. It was also apprised that though the ADB has issued NOC to the local company, the committee recommended that agreement should not be signed until the reevaluation process is completed in the light of the committee recommendations.
In the matter pertaining to NTDC and BoD, NTDC on non-implementation status and non-serious attitude on clear recommendations of the committee the Power Division Officers apologized for the inappropriate Letter to Senate Standing Committee on Power.
The officials further explained that the letter was written from the then Chairman and the Board did not approve the draft letter, the chairman later on resigned from his position, the NTDC board members apologised for the previous letter and officially withdrew it, they further said they highly value the committees input on the oversight of the ministries.
Further the agenda item pertaining to Dasu Hydro Power Station to Islamabad transmission line contract was also discussed, the Turkish company SA-RA Energy which was the second lowest bidder gave stance that rendering of this contract to Sino-Hydro is not appropriate since, they do not have any relevant experience, “There are glitches and major mistakes in the submitted document of the contract, said the representative of the SA-RA energy.
They further said that we have already held meetings with the NTDC and the power division and that we are ready to take this contract and we will complete it in time. The committee was further apprised in the meeting that the matter is sub judice in the court.
The committee deliberated at length the Irregularities in Transmission Line Contract of Dasu Hydro Project, while deliberately the matter the members of committee were of the view to give opportunity to NTDC to also give their point of view
It was further deliberated by the SA-RA energy that they met with the World Bank at their head office and also found the perceived irregularities.
Senator Saifullah Abro while expressing displeasure over the lack of performance of the concerned department in resolving the matter.
He further said that committee took agenda item to ensure transparency in the matter of the award of the project and prudent utilisation of the funds in the best interest of the State and the people of Pakistan.
It was further informed by the officials of the Power ministry that they have communicated the concerns raised by the committee along with the relevant documents but the World Bank country office has expressed full confidence in the process therefore they had to award the contract.
On this Senator Dilawar Khan suggested that an in camera briefing be held on the subject matter within 10 days so that the power division could give a comprehensive briefing with appropriate documents. The committee unanimously endorsed the proposal of in camera meeting to expedite resolution in the matter. The remaining agenda items were deferred.
The meeting was attended by Senators’ Fida Muhammad, Dilawar Khan, Saifullah Sarwar Khan Nyazee, Sana Jamali, Haji Hidayatullah Khan, Bahramand Khan Tangi, Azam Nazeer Tarar and officials from related attached departments.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023