ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) on Friday filed a complaint in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against a bid to award the Rs309 billion contract of the much-awaited Mohmand dam project to a consortium having Descon as one of its three firms.

The complaint was filed by a local PPP leader, Chaudhry Zaheer Mehmood, against Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood.

PPP secretary general Farhatullah Babar told Dawn that the complaint was filed on behalf of the party and not in an individual capacity.

Spokesman describes it as sheer conflict of interest

According to the complaint, the bid of the consortium comprising Descon, China Gezhouba and Voith Hydro for construction of the Mohmand dam was accepted for award of the contract, whereas the technical bid of another consortium of three firms, including the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO), was rejected as it was declared disqualified.

“Thus the single bid was accepted and the contract is being awarded to the consortium which included Descon,” the complaint said. Descon belonged to Mr Dawood and the award of contract to this consortium raised questions about its transparency and fairness, it added.

The complaint said that the award of contract to Descon and others amounted to a “conflict of interest” and against the law and procedure.

The opposition party alleged that the PM’s adviser had committed an offence under Section 9 of the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO), 1999, which was punishable under Section 10 of the ordinance.

“It is, therefore, respectfully requested that proceedings under the NAB law be initiated and a reference be submitted to an accountability court for adjudication,” it said.

“The award of the Mohmand dam contract to Razak Dawood’s company is a sheer conflict of interest, most unethical and the tip of the iceberg of a monumental scandal that must be probed transparently,” Mr Babar said.

In a statement, the PPP secretary general said that the party waited for two days hoping that credible explanation would be offered, but the explanation provided raised more serious questions rather than providing any answer.

“Since no credible explanation has been offered, the PPP demands a transparent probe into the matter and till the probe is completed the PM’s adviser must step aside,” he said.

The PPP spokesman demanded answers to the following questions: “Is it correct that the offers made by other bidders were rejected on technical grounds, leaving the field open for the consortium of Descon, China Gezhouba and Voith as the sole bidder?

“Is it not mandatory to invite fresh bids after other bidders were disqualified?

“Is it correct that the joint venture of Descon and other two firms submitted bids after the last general elections?”

He asked how soon the financial bids of Descon joint venture were opened after the other bidders were disqualified on technical grounds.

The PPP secretary general asked was it correct that PPRA rules did not allow the acceptance of single bid and wondered what procedure was adopted to bypass this requirement.

According to him, the explanation that Descon is holding only 30 per cent shares in the joint venture is “laughable, audacious and offensive to common intelligence that amounts to criminal cover-up”.

He said that just two days ago the current and former speakers of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly were found guilty of misuse of authority in the appointment of a senior officer of the assembly.

“Recently the cabinet directed the CDA to amend the master plan of the capital for regularising the Banigala residence of the prime minister and now we have seen this scandalous contract of the Mohmand dam,” he added.

He called upon the government to clean its own house, adding that the PPP would expose and chase corrupt elements no matter how high their positions were and how low their character was.

Published in Dawn, January 5th, 2019