ISLAMABAD: The Express Tribune has reliably learnt that the Oil and Gas Development Company (OGDC) may award a $50 million contract to a favoured firm for the procurement of drilling rigs in violation of competitive procedures and practices.
Documents available with The Express Tribune reveal that the top management of OGDC has opened bids for a multi-million dollar contract before the stipulated time – in violation of the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules – in order to drive out other potential bidders.
E Horizon Pakistan Private Limited – a subsidiary of the US-based E-Horizon Group – has notified a protest against this practice to the top management of OGDC; but no action has been taken so far.
The firm, which had been one of the bidders for the contract, said it had written letters to the OGDC Managing and Executive Director Masood Nabi on June 22, 2012, but had not yet received a proper response. “We would like to request your kind office to intervene and investigate the matter and resolve the issue by announcing a new date of submission,” the letter had said.
When contacted, Nabi refused to comment on the issue.
According to documents, participating parties who had purchased tender documents were informed that tenders would be closed on June 26; and that bidders had time to submit tender documents till the given time. According to sources, when a representative of E Horizon reached OGDC to submit its bid on June 26, he was informed that bids had been opened on June 20.
Sources allege that the move sidelined potential bidders from the competition, but favoured one particular firm. They added that according to PPRA rules, the bid date can be extended but cannot be preponed.
In a letter to the OGDC MD written on June 22 – a copy of which is available with The Express Tribune – E Horizon Pakistan said that: “[the] act of OGDC of changing bid opening dates and opening the bids without notifying us was against PPRA rules as we had purchased the tender and intended bid on the requested items.”
The aggrieved company has also written a letter to the petroleum secretary to intervene and investigate the issue.
“The OGDC notified us through its letter dated May 28, 2012, that the closing date of the tender is June 26, 2012. We have unofficially been told that the bid was opened on June 20, 2012,” the aggrieved party says in the letter; adding that: “We strongly believe that this act is against PPRA rules [that aim] to provide fair and open opportunities to all potential bidders.”
When contacted, Petroleum Secretary Ijaz Chaudhry denied that he had as yet received a letter from the aggrieved party.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 28th, 2012.
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