Islamabad: Housing Ministry officer condones Rs32m corruption
ISLAMABAD: As corruption in a Rs378 million project has been caught in the Ministry of Housing and Works, a senior officer is trying to brush it under the carpet and condone it, but he is facing stiff resistance from within the ministry.
The corruption, in the Heat Ventilation and Air Conditioning project for the New Secretariat Block in Islamabad was detected when a reputed firm, pre-qualified for the tender of the project was rejected and an ineligible contractor was given the job.
Then the Superintendent Engineer Pak PWD Kifayatullah, who has been posted against the seat of chief engineer, issued a letter condoning recovery of Rs32.2 million from a contractor for installing substandard and inferior cooling units instead of Japanese made.
The letter bearing No CEN/B-5/Misc/3850 Dated 11 June, 2011 was issued by Kifayatullah which says, “After going through the record, prevailing circumstances and representation of Awan & Sons vide No786/HVAC/158 dated 1.6.2011, the action taken by the executive engineer, Central E/M Division No1, Pak PWD, Islamabad, vide his letter No CEMD-I/W-41/1992 dated 1.6.2011 to recover an amount of Rs32,221,345 from the aforesaid contractor against the work construction of New Office Block at Constitution Avenue, Islamabad (SH Equipment-II), found illegal and without authority, is hereby declared null and void.”
Kifayatullah also sought explanation from Anwarul Haq, Dy Budget & Finance Officer of Pak PWD, saying that the letter written to Awan & Sons was issued without the approval of the chief engineer.
However, Ataul Haq, the Chief Engineer, who issued the letter to the said contractor, when approached, said that he issued the letter because the quality of work was substandard.
On June 13, 2011, Executive Engineer Subhash Chandar wrote to the SE Kifayatullah through letter bearing No CEMD-1/W-41/1989 and said that the recovery of Rs32,221,345 was established against Awan & Sons on account of the overpayment, amounting to embezzlement and deviation from contractual obligations/specifications and installation of inferior and substandard equipments. “It is pertinent to point out that only the Public Accounts Committee or court of competent jurisdiction can condone/ waive off the recovery; therefore, this office cannot comply with the illegal order and will only follow the rules in true letter and spirit,” the executive engineer’s letter said.
SE Kifayatullah, now posted as chief engineer, when contacted for his comments, said that it was his executive function which he has performed. When asked whether he could condone the corruption, the SE said neither the case was in litigation nor he has done anything beyond the ambit of his powers. When asked about the award of the contract of HVAC and the drama of joint venture, SE said it is a long story, and he would not go into that. He said that Nespak has issued a report on which there is no recovery imposed upon the contractor. Whereas a Nespak report available with The News establishes the recovery of Rs32.2 million for installation of inferior material.
It is worth mentioning here that none of the contractors of the PWD was eligible to be awarded such a technical contract, but the officers were hell bent to carry it out through its own enlisted contractors; therefore, the project was bifurcated into two parts and two contractors, Ch Mubarik Ali and Awan were awarded the contracts as both were ineligible but presented a joint venture with M/s Wular Engrs, which made them eligible, but latter M/s Wular pulled out of the joint venture, but the PWD continued with its contractors.
The News broke this story, and the Housing DG confirmed that massive corruption was unearthed in two projects worth Rs378 million and Rs233 million each, of which the latter was cancelled.