MULTAN: The administration of the Cattle Market Management Company Multan (CMMCM) allegedly caused a loss of Rs8.78 million to the exchequer by resorting to departmental collection of fee and other dues at Pul Bulail cattle market in violation of rules and not auctioning the fee-collection rights, official documents available with Dawn reveal.

As per Rule 11 of the Punjab Local Governments (Auction of fee collection Rights) Rules 2016, at least three attempts shall be made to award the fee-collection contract through open biding, equal to the reserve price or more, by the administration of local government before the commencement of new financial year.

But, according to the official documents, the company’s managing director, instead of outsourcing the fee-collection process made departmental collection of only Rs14.83 million, which was less than the amount being offered by the highest bidder.

“The Managing Director of CMMCM made departmental collection of Rs14.830 million on account of the income head of toori (dry fodder)/ parali at the Pul Bulail cattle market during the fiscal year of 2019- 20,” it reads.

It stated that as per attendance sheet of the first open auction held on May 15, 2018, three bidders participated in the open auction. One of the bidder, Iftikhar, was not considered by the committee for the bidding because of over-righting and cutting the rate offered on the bidding form, thus leaving only two bidders -- Asmattullah Khan and Muhammad Usman Qureshi -- in the competition.

It stated that Mr Qureshi, who had offered the highest bid of Rs23m, was also left out by the management on the pretext that the fee collection right on account of toori (dry fodder)/parali had been auctioned during FY2017-18 at Rs23.61m (and the amount being offered by Mr Qureshi was less than that).

During 2018-19, the service was not auctioned and the departmental resorted to self-recovery, collecting only Rs14.83m.

“In this way, the company suffered a loss of Rs8.78 million. The management of CMMCM failed to make arrangements for three attempts for awarding contracts through open bidding before the commencement of Financial Year 2018-19 in violation of the above rules and started self-collection illogically. The company gave only two auction notices in the newspaper -- on May 15, 2018, and June 25, 2018 -- due to which most of the revenue sources remained unauctioned which were self-collected,” it stated.

It stated that the contract was not awarded to the bid winner with an excuse that the Rs23m amount of open auction was below the reserve price of Rs25.9m.

It further stated that although the auction committee had on June 25, 2018 recommended re-advertising the segment of toori/parali (dry fodder) auction after reconsidering the reserve price, no reserve price was recalculated/reconsidered and the company started self-collection for the FY2018-19 in violation of rules, while causing a loss of Rs8.780m to the exchequer.

It further stated that the “mala fide” on part of the company management was also proved in the auction for the FY2019-20 when the contract was awarded to one Badar Ikram at an auction price of Rs20.05m despite the fact the same contract was denied to Mr Qureshi for the year FY2018-19 who had offered Rs23m bid, and the company could collect only Rs14.83m through self-collection in violation of the rules.

The then CMMCM Managing Director Dr Hammad rejected the allegations, saying no violation of rules was committed and the self-recovery/collection was resorted to only after no party came up with a higher offer despite repeated re-auction process.

He said the self-collection was made for the FY2018-19, and also during the first quarter of FY2019-20. However, the recovery was made by the contractor for the remaining nine months, he added.

Published in Dawn, October 10th, 2021

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