ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Minister for Power and Petroleum, Muhammad Ali, has reportedly given his pledge to the Turkish company SA-RA Energy that he would conduct a transparent inquiry into contracts of 765 kV Dasu transmission line, while acknowledging that there was collusion as the procedure was not followed in this regard, well informed sources told Business Recorder.

The World Bank has also conducted an inquiry into $ 300 million contract of 765 kV double circuit transmission line project on the complaint of Turkish firm, SA-RA Energy, whose team visited the site of the project to verify facts on the ground in November 2023.

According to Power Division Turkish firm approached World Bank’s Integrity Vice Presidency (INT) against the contract LoT-1 of transmission line project worth $ 300 million awarded to Chinese firm M/s Synohydro Corporation. The bank’s team has not yet shared its findings with the GoP.

Dasu transmission line contract given clean chit by World Bank

The Integrity Vice Presidency (INT) is an independent unit within the World Bank that investigates and pursues sanctions related to allegations of fraud and corruption in World Bank-financed projects.

A team of M/s SA-RA, comprising Turkish Ambassador Mehmet Pacaci, Trade Attache, Nurettin, Country Director SA-RA Shahid Mahmood and Finance Manager, Hassan Saeed held a meeting with the caretaker Minister for Power and his team to relate their suspicions on Dasu transmission line contract.

According to sources, caretaker Minister stated that he is well aware of what transpired and referred to discussions at the level of Senate Standing Committee on Power.

M/s SA-RA representative stated that the company participated as an EPC bidder but unfortunately, transparency measures were not properly implemented. During the evaluation of the bidding process, the project consultant, M/s GOPA provided various favoured inclinations towards M/s Sinohydro and violated the mandatory essential and knock-out clauses duly vetted by the World Bank, outlined in the tender documents. The tender documents being published after the approval of the World Bank means that after the concurrence of WB terms and conditions, it become binding between the client and the potential bidder/contractor. And no one can violate the sanctity of tender clauses as far as the implementation and its effectiveness is concerned.

The Senate Standing Committee on Power on January 16, 2024, while deliberating on the agenda items related to awarding of contracts to M/s Sinhohydro Corporation) for Lot-1 and M/s Harbin Electric International for LoT-II and consultant M/s GOPA Intec for consultations of 765 kV double circuit transmission line from Dasu hydropower station to Islamabad I/C grid station and ADB project ACSR Bunting Conductor LoT-II A, the Committee unanimously decided and constituted a three-member committee headed by caretaker Federal Minister for Power and Petroleum and Secretary, Power Division and MD NESPAK as its members.

The Terms of Reference (ToRs) of the Committee are as follows: (i) to examine the tendering process of both projects along with reports earlier submitted by the departments and to find out that if corrupt/mal-practices were involved in awarding of contracts in both projects; and (ii) to obtain the views of concerned representatives of World Bank and Asian Development Bank (lenders) regarding tendering processes carried out as per their bidding documents/procedure and satisfaction.

The Committee also recommended Power Division to submit a comprehensive report within three weeks’ time and a detailed briefing on the findings of the report to be given by members of the Internal Inquiry Committee in the next Standing Committee meeting.

The Senate Standing Committee Secretariat has conveyed to Power Division that the Committee also desired that the caretaker Federal Minister for Power personally brief the Committee after conducting the inquiry.

The representatives of M/s SA-RA emphasized that they are furnishing all necessary documents for a third party investigation.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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