Transparency International Pakistan (TIP) has forwarded yet another allegation pertaining to the illegal use of national exchequer funds in the government advertisement sector by advertising and media company Midas Private Limited.
In a letter addressed to Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, TIP Adviser Syed Adil Gilani informed the Supreme Court that another advertising contract worth Rs1.637 billion has been awarded to Midas in the last quarter of 2012 by Pepco and NTDC, without inviting any tenders in violation of Public Procurement Rules 2004.
The court was informed that another letter was written to the prime minister by the Pakistan Broadcasters Association chairman on January 7, warning that PBA would advice members not to accept any government advertisement unless the outstanding payment is made to members of the broadcasting association by January 20.
The Supreme Court had earlier constituted a two-member media accountability commission on a TIP petition which dealt with a government grant of Rs320 million to advertising agency, Midas, allegedly to influence media houses.
Furthermore, the complainant also reported that former secretary ministry of water and power, Nargis Sethi, had refused to allow the payment due to the violation of numerous rules of business. Sethi’s ethical approach led to her transfer from the ministry, according to media reports.
The letter went on to add that a delay in action against Midas Private Limited since 2010 for misappropriating Rs632.59 million has led to an increase in illegal practices in this regard.
“Even though the Honorable Supreme Court on January 15, 2013 appointed Justice (retd) Nasir Aslam Zahid as head of the two-member commission for media code of conduct, but the corruption issue is to be adjudicated,” said Gilani.
TIP requested the court to make the new allegation part of the case already being heard by the Supreme Court.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 6th, 2013.