The Khyber-Pakhtunkhawa (K-P) government has been accused of flouting procurement rules and awarding a multi-million-dollar contract for the purchase of weapons for the police force to a ‘favoured’ firm, the Express Investigation Cell (EIC) has learnt.
The provincial police department rejected eight compliant bids (technical and financial) without analysing them during a meeting at the police headquarters in Peshawar, sources told the EIC. Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Tariq Iqbal simply announced that even though all eight bids were compliant, his bosses have decided to award the contract for the purchase of 4,000 pistols to a European firm, Glock.
The aggrieved bidders rejected the announcement and demanded fair play in a contract involving taxpayers’ money.
DSP Iqbal, however, showed them the door. “I have told you (bidders) to leave the hall as your protest will not be of any use,” he is reported to have told the participants.
The provincial government had floated a tender in January 2012, seeking bids for the supply of weapons, ranging from pistols to rocket launchers.
The decision has also drawn a sharp reaction from the Royal Emirates Group, a short-listed bidder. It has written to Chief Minister Ameer Haider Hoti asking him to look into the matter.
In his letter, Prince Buti al Maktoum of the Royal Emirates Group alleged that K-P police rejected his company’s bid only because the contract was to be awarded to a ‘favourite’ firm.
“The way the Royal Emirates Group’s bid was rejected by the K-P police … is an insult to our commitments and well-wishes towards the province at war against terrorists,” the letter reads. The group also accused the police department of selecting outdated weapons with serious security issues without following a transparent process. The group raised the issue with Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UAE Jamil Ahmed Khan, who moved quickly to convey the Emirati government’s concern to the authorities in Islamabad and Chief Minister Hoti.
The Royal Emirates Group also copied the letter to the UAE Ambassador in Islamabad, Eisa Abdullah alBasha alNuaimi.
When contacted, the UAE ambassador’s staff said, “The matter has been acknowledged but the ambassador has nothing more to say.”
Dr Kaiser Rafiq, the managing director of Royal Emirates Group, confirmed to the EIC that his group had approached Chief Minister Hoti for intervention in the case, but it had yet to receive a response.
“The K-P government has not responded to our letter and keeping in mind such irresponsible attitude from top authorities in K-P, the group is seriously considering taking the matter to the court of law in Pakistan for justice,” Rafiq said.
Additional Inspector General Awal Khan could not be reached for the police department’s side of the story despite several attempts by EIC.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 26th, 2012.