Transparency International Pakistan (TIP) has drawn the attention of Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah towards scam worth more than Rs. 3 billion in the education department.
TIP in a letter to CM Sindh available with ‘Pakistan Observer’ unearthed a loss of about Rs 3.3 Billion due to violation of SPPRA Rules 2010 in the Award of Contract for “Supply & Delivery of Duel Desks in Public Sector Schools of Sindh” by School Education & Literacy Department Govt. of Sindh.
Transparency International Pakistan has received a complaint on the above-said allegations that the department concerned was purchasing furniture at the rate of three times more than the market price, causing a loss to the exchequer of about Rs 3.3 Billion.
The complaint reads, “The School Education & Literacy Department Govt. of Sindh on 10th June 2021, (In the last month of the fiscal year 2020-2021), awarded four contracts for the “Supply & Delivery of Duel Desks in Public Sector Schools of Sindh” worth Rs. 5 Billion at the rates varied between Rs 23, 985 to Rs. 29,500 per desk inclusive of all taxes.
It is worth mentioning here that the previous Tenders for the same procurement of the duel desk furniture were invited by the School Education & Literacy Department Govt. of Sindh 2 years ago, precisely on 17th Feb 2019, for a smaller quantity. The lowest evaluated tender prices received from responsive bidders for these tenders varied between Rs. 5,700 to Rs. 6,860 per desk, inclusive of all taxes. However, School Education & Literacy Department for unknown reasons did not award the contracts then.
Keeping in view the difference of the minimum cost of Rs. 5,700 and Rs. 23,985 per desk, the current tenders are awarded at 320% higher prices, which are estimated to have caused a loss of about Rs. 3.3 billion to the national exchequer.
The School Education & Literacy Department prepared highly inflated Engineering estimates as Rs. 24,500 per desk, as market price, though the same desks were offered in Open Bidding to the Department in 2019 at a maximum price of Rs 6860 per desk.
Keeping in 10 % annual escalation in prices, the maximum estimated cost should have been Rs 9000 per desk which included two and half years escalation of 30%. The bidders knowing the estimated prices, thus quoted on avg. Rs 27,000 per desk.
In its letter TIP recommended the action against the officers of the School Education & Literacy Department and the contractors shall be taken for committing a loss worth billions of rupees to the exchequer.
TI Pakistan has examined the allegations of the complainant and said that Prima facie the allegations seem to be correct.
The procurement process for the “Supply & Delivery of Duel Desks in Public Sector Schools of Sindh” was started by the department 3 times in the past, once in 2019, second in 2020 and now 3rd time in 2021. Representative of TI Pakistan was also included as an observer in the Evaluation Committee.
The reasons for not awarding the contract in 2019 by the School Education & Literacy Department to the lowest bidder was protested by Transparency International Pakistan representative, and also a vide letter No. TL19/22/04/1A dated 22nd April 2019, was sent to the Chief Secretary Sindh.
The Chief Secretary was informed about the failure of the School Education & Literacy Department in not awarding these contracts at about Rs 300 million, which is half the approved estimated cost of Rs. 600 million, and that School Education & Literacy Department was causing a loss of Rs. 30 crores to the exchequer.
Again on August 23, 2019, TI Pakistan informed the Secretary of Education & Literacy Department that TI Pakistan will not participate as an observer in the evaluation committee, in the re-tender, due to the non-transparent methods of the School Education & Literacy Department in the tendering process of the previous tender for the same goods.