Audit unearths corruption worth billions in NHA projects

ISLAMABAD: A special audit conducted by the Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) has unearthed corruption worth billions of rupees in the National Highway Authority (NHA) projects, it was learnt on Saturday.

Well-informed sources told Pakistan Today that a special audit has managed to collect strong evidence of corruption in the Lowari Tunnel and Gwadar-Ratodero projects of NHA. On the advice of federal minister Murad Saeed, the evidence has been forwarded to Prime Minister’s Inquiry Commission for necessary action in this regard, they added.

Sources said that the government exchequer had to bear a loss of Rs3.55 billion owing to corruption in the Lowari tunnel project, while approximately Rs420.59 million were lost in the Gwadar-Ratodero project.

“Corruption was done through undue delays and overpayments to contractors,” sources claimed.

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Documents available with Pakistan Today disclosed that in Gwadar-Ratodero road project (M-8), losses incurred by the government exchequer due to re-rating of items, which did not meet the criteria given in the contract agreement, were Rs425 million.

Meanwhile, overpayment by allowing the difference of revised and original rate to the main contractor caused a loss of Rs38.4 million.

Moreover, overpayment on account of incorrect rates of high-speed diesel amounted to Rs7.149 million, while losses due to non-recovery of additional mobilization advance and non-validation of bank guarantee were recorded at Rs48.5 million

Also, losses due to unjustified calculation/payment on re-rating items without fixing of basic rates were Rs23,200 million, while non-recovery of liquefied damages caused a loss of Rs111.5 million.

In the Lowari Tunnel Project, irregular/unauthorized expenditure, beyond the revised PC-4 provision, was Rs3,978.047 million, while loss to the public exchequer due to non-execution of access roads work in conformance with the provision of PC-1, was Rs3,554.373 million.

Extra payment of price escalation due to enhancement of the rate of excavation through re-rating was Rs1,148.629 million, whereas overpayment to the contractor due to the enhancement of the rate of excavation through re-rating was Rs504.712 million.

Unjustified burden on the public exchequer due to inordinate delay in procurement and execution of operational and complementary buildings was Rs459,559 million.

Unauthorized payment for the procurement of services by the subsidiary firm caused Rs191.535 million in losses, while unfair award of additional work without open tendering resulted in a Rs163.209 million loss.

Moreover, non-deduction/recovery of stones from the contractor, as per the provision of the contract, amounted to Rs129.724 million.

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Ahmad Ahmadani
The author is an investigative journalist. He can be reached at [email protected]


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