ISLAMABAD: Another alleged fraud case of excess payment worth Rs43 million has emerged at the Directorate of Municipal Administration (DMA) of the Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI).

The DMA has been accused of receiving an excess payment of Rs43 million for route decorations and illumination arrangements on the occasion of Pakistan Day on March 23 and on account of the OIC meeting in Islamabad.

Sources said the administrator MCI, Irfan Nawaz Memon, who is the deputy commissioner Islamabad, through a letter had requested the member administration CDA to hold an inquiry into matter.

The letter, which was received by the CDA a few days ago (available with Dawn), stated that the matter related to arrangements for route decor for the OIC meeting and Pakistan Day Parade were to be arranged by the DMA through a contractor.

Municipal directorate received excess payment of Rs43m for arrangements on Pakistan Day, OIC meeting

The said work was awarded to a contractor with 21.4 per cent above the bid price and accordingly necessary arrangements were made by CDA Finance Wing.

The DMA is part of the MCI; however, CDA’s Finance Wing has been providing funds to it whenever needed for major works.

The letter said after the allocation of a budget from the Finance Wing, an agreement was signed by DMA with the contractor after approval of the administrator MCI on April 15, 2022. After signing the agreement, a case was moved for approval of the administrator MCI for the excess amount of Rs43.292 million whereas the Notice Inviting Tender (NIT) amount was Rs24.564 million and the bid accepted amounted to Rs33.46 million which was already 21pc above.

The letter of the administrator said that the file was forwarded to the Finance Wing which returned it with the following remarks: “Case file has been examined and processed and competent authority has desired that sufficient funds have already been allocated.”

The administrator in his letter said the DMA again moved file on May 19, 2022 through its Director for allocation of the amount and Finance Wing raised objections. The objection was attended by DMA. The Finance Wing allocated the excess amount of Rs43.2 million on October 3, 2022, as “requested time and again by DMA in proceedings para(s) on receipt of allocation file was submitted to Administrator MCI for approval for issuance of expenditure sanction.”

It pointed out that according to PPRA rules, excess work, more than 15pc of the bid mount can be awarded only after signing revised agreement of 15pc, therefore, the amount allocated by Finance Wing as well as payment was not justified.

“Against enhancement of more than 15pc, a revised agreement was required to be signed. Moreover, since all the work done before initiating the file for budget allocation, why the additional fund was demanded separately,” read the letter.

It said that the position narrated above required to be investigated, inquired through a proper inquiry procedure in accordance with CDA’s Employees Service Regulations.

When contacted, a senior officer of CDA confirmed to Dawn that CDA had received the letter from the administrator MCI.

He said in a few days, the CDA will decide how to move forward, adding a proper inquiry was likely to be held by the CDA. Or it can ask the MCI to conduct the inquiry against its own officials. “In next few days, we will make a decision,” the officer said.

When contacted, Director DMA Shakeel Arshad said he had no idea about the inquiry being held on the orders of the administrator MCI.

“I have no idea about the letter in question. However, let me make it clear that initially under the contract we were to decorate a few buildings but later the scope of the work was enhanced on the directive of senior officers. Therefore, we demanded extra fund,” he said, adding though payment was not made yet.

“Yes, DMA asked for extra fund for the extra work, which we carried out and under the rules the payment in question is justified,” he said.

The DMA is also facing another inquiry recently ordered by the administrator related to opening ceremony for inauguration of the metro bus service in Bhara Kahu.

Published in Dawn, November 29th, 2022

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