Appointment of non-technical NHA chief resulted in billion of rupees overpayments to private contractors

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Is SC, IHC and PAC alive to the situation?

Rana Tassadaq Hussain

Islamabad

Anti-Corruption authorities have apprised Prime Minister about overpayments made to private contractors amounting to billion of rupees on the direction of PAS and PAAS officers posted at NHA. Overpayment to the tune of billion of rupees were made to blue eyed contractors on various projects.

In report it has been revealed that as per para 103 of NHA code, inclusion of non boq items during the execution stage shall, as far as possible be avoided. However, in case it is absolutely essential to get new items of work executed, proper rate analysis shall be carried out in consultation with the consultants and contractors. Rates finally agreed among the contractor, consultant and GM concerned shall be submitted for approval of the competent authority through tender acceptance committee.

In presence of above, NHA was made to suffer heavy financial losses due to non familiarization of PAS and PAAS officers with engineering matters, CSR.

NHA awarded a contract of package-IIB Jamani to Shorkot of M-4 project to M/s. China Railway First Group Company Limited for Rs. 8.827.501 million with a completion period of two years. After award of work, a non BOQ item, formation of rock fill material was included in the BOQ through variation order No. 1 with the quantity of Rs. 34,[email protected] Rs. 2,833.08 per cu.m. During execution, a quantity of 37,057.122 cu.m was executed upto IPC-18 involving Rs. 104.985 million.

Through rate analysis of the said item it has been revealed that the authority included rate of Rs. 1,624.72 per cu.m for rock fill material (100mm to 300mm), whereas, material rate for rock fill under 507b of NHA CSR-2014 was available as Rs. 959.91 per cu.m. Further, under item 507b there was nil equipment provided for execution of work whereas, the Authority also included equipment cost of Rs. 52,608.03 for 222 cu.m. This resulted in incorrect calculation of rate at higher side. As per calculation, rate of item comes to Rs. 1,233,675 per cu.m. This resulted in overpayment of Rs. 59.270 million.

Audited pointed out this issue. The authority replied that the rate of rock fill material 959.91 per cu.m taken by audit for rock fill in Gabion for Faisalabad (as per CSR-2014), whereas, the rock fill material (100-300) used at site was not a rock fill Gabion material. Since no rate of rock fill material (100-300mm) is available in the CSR, therefore the same was de termined through quotations. Similarly, equipment (Grader, Rollers, Water Tankers and Diesel Delivery Pumps) are required for laying, spreading, dressing and compaction of rock fill material at site contrary to the Gabion where no such equipment for working at site are required.

Recovery of excess cost on a prorate basis involving Rs. 34.953 million with the increase of 30% rate of material and inclusion of equipment cost was advised on which no action has been taken, to-date.

According to sources, due to non familiarization of PAS and PAAS officers with engineering matters, faulty and ill-calculated CSR the authority was made to suffer a financial loss of over 10 billion rupees during last two fiscal years.

In another move NHA employees have rejected contention of Khurram Agha Chairman, NHA regarding award of contract for the construction of apartments for NHA employees to his favorite contractor which is alleged to have grabbed mega initiatives of NHA and it’s guaranteed revenue which was supposed to be spent for construction, operation and management of roads network in Pakistan and not for raising contractors profile through unfair practices.

NHA employees have moved Prime Minister to cancel and withdraw all appointments made to NHA on deputation basis in pursuance of Supreme Court of Pakistan and Islamabad High Court’s orders available with the communications ministry and law department of NHA.

Meanwhile National Accountability Bureau through reference dated 30.12 2022 is learnt to have initiated investigation against Zahir Shah, BPS-21 PAS officer posted as Member Administration and his team which is accused of receiving kick backs for most of the postings, transfers ordered in past three months at NHA.