Now, a multi-billion rupee police arms purchase scam surfaces in Pak province

Saturday, November 20, 2010

PESHAWAR - The National Accountability Bureau of Pakistan has sought to investigate a multi-billion-rupee arms purchase deal in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa after an official inquiry discovered “serious irregularities” and a “huge loss to public exchequer”.

Official sources revealed that the NAB had asked the Police Department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to turn over the relevant records pertaining to the purchase of arms, ammunition and protective gears, the Dawn reported.

The inquiry committee, headed by the provincial Finance Secretary, said in its report submitted to the chief minister that the Police Department was given an amount of 6.923 billion rupees for the procurement of weapons and ammunition during 2008-09 and 2009-10.

According to the report, the department had placed twelve advertisements in newspapers from July 2008 to June 2010 for purchase of arms worth 5.7 billion rupees.ut of this, the committee found, purchases of 4.39 billion rupees were made from a single firm- M/s Majeed and Sons- in which purchases worth 1.12 billion rupees were made without placing any advertisement, in violation of the rules of wide publicity and transparency and provisions of repeat orders as per Public Procurement Rules.

The inquiry committee also reported a departure from Procurement Rules, 2003, in terms of ignoring the lowest rates on “flimsy grounds” “on occasions,” and quoted several instances to substantiate its case.

It also pointed out that the Police Department had purchased explosive detectors of a brand, which was being internationally criticized for being poor in quality. “Still the same were purchased,” the committee noted.

Significantly, the committee said that the pre-qualification record revealed that most of the competing firms were apparently members of the same family.

“Based on this aspect, it has been concluded that sister firms having ownership of the same family have participated. Thus the entire environment of competition seems to have been largely controlled by a singly family/entity”, it reported.

The committee recommended the formation of another body to probe the matter further and fix responsibility, approach the Auditor General of Pakistan to constitute an audit team, or turn over the case to the National Accountability Bureau.

The chief minister, however, has opted to constitute another committee, revealed knowledgeable sources. (ANI)

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