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LAHORE, Sept 25: The Ministry of Water and Power on Tuesday asked Wapda Chairman Syed Raghib Abbas Shah to furnish a report on controversial Golen Gol Hydropower project, clarifying authority’s position on the objections raised by the Transparency International and the Kuwait Fund – the lender of the project.

The project is already under the scrutiny of the National Accountability Bureau after two-member inquiry committee of the ministry found Wapda guilty of “numerous discrepancies and procedural anomalies” in award of Rs4.6 billion project.

It may be mentioned here that the Kuwait Fund had also sought the federal government’s ruling on the alleged contractual discrepancies in the project and its clearance from Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) before releasing loan for the scheme.

A letter sent by the fund to the government also asked the Finance Ministry to “clearly state its recommendations” for award of contract because the project “cannot suffer further delays”. According to the letter, a losing bidder for the contract had complained to the fund about alleged contractual misconduct on part of the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda).

According to the details of the case, the Wapda opened tenders for the 106-MW project located on River Golen Gol – a major tributary of the River Mastuj in Chitral district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa – on June 30 last year. One M/s Andriz became the lowest bidder with a price of $48 million, against more than $58 million by M/s Rainpower – a joint venture of four companies.

The Rainpower JV, despite missing two major qualifications – a turnover of $25 million for the last five years and experience of similar projects for 10 years – was pre-qualified by the Wapda.

The international consultant (M/s Fitchner Germany) recommended the lowest bidder (M/s Andriz) as contractor. The Wapda, instead of going along with the recommendations of the consultant, initiated a parallel (in-house) process of re-evaluation, unilaterally, overloaded the price of the lowest bidder through its own valuation and awarded the contract to the bidder of its choice. It also allegedly tried (through a letter on March 21, 2012) to convince the Kuwait Fund for approving the same company despite price and qualification differential, forcing everyone – National Assembly, Transparency International, the Ministry of Water and Power – into action.