PAC orders probe into Rs6b contract awarded for new Islamabad airport

Islamabad: A parliamentary probe has been initiated by Public Accounts Committee (PAC) into reported “irregularities” in awarding of contract for under-construction New Islamabad Airport.

During the meeting of PAC, it came to knowledge that Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) had given the contract worth Rs6b on directives of an aide to ex-PM Nawaz Sharif on aviation at 140pc higher rates, reported a local newspaper.

Director-General of Audit, Captain (retd) Shujaat Azeem apprised PAC that the then CAA director-general had invalidated the first bidding process on directives of the then special assistant on aviation to ex-PM Nawaz Sharif.

Azeem said CAA had again invited fresh bids from the same three parties for the installation of boarding bridges at the New Islamabad International Airport.

After successful bidding, the contract was then awarded to M/S Adelte/HRL at 140pc higher price than the approved one of Rs2.5b. He voiced suspicion over this whole bidding process, where the same parties had again been engaged to make fresh bids.

Director-General Audit also alleged that the special assistant on aviation had forbidden the financial bids of the bidder from being opened.

After conclusion of the hearing, PAC Chairman Khursheed Shah decided to constitute a committee which will be headed by PPP Senator Sherry Rehman to investigate these allegations. The committee will give its feedback within a month.

PAC on the other hand also sought help from Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) in another case of ‘irregular award of contract’ for installation of a baggage handling system at the new Islamabad airport at a cost of Rs4.5b.

According to the audit, the bidder had quoted the lowest price of Rs3.9b and why had the CAA given the contract at Rs4.5b, it asked.

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