A parliamentary committee referred on Monday a case to the National Accountability Court (NAB) for the award of a Rs475 million contract on the construction of federal tribunal courts. The amount was found to be 62 per cent higher than the estimated building cost.
A sub-committee of the Public Accounts Committee held a meeting at the Parliament House under Sardar Ashiq Hussain Gopang along with Azra Fazal Pechuho as the only member of the committee.
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Audit and Works Director General Maqbool Gondal told the committee that Public Works Department Peshawar awarded the contract for building the federal tribunal courts complex in Hayatabad in May 2008 against the technical sanctioned estimate of Rs292.8 million.
“It was against the market rate, and was 62 per cent higher than the estimate,” he said. As per PWD codes, the maximum permissible limit for acceptance of tenders over technical sanctioned estimate is 15 per cent.
Documents reveal the departmental accounts committee (DAC) of the housing and works ministry had also recommended action against the executive engineer in 2014.
The housing secretary said the engineer was already behind bars and was being tried in several cases by NAB.
Gopang said it was a confirmed case of corruption and referred it to NAB for a thorough inquiry.
The housing secretary was also criticised for not recovering Rs8.6 million in rent from an unauthorised occupant of government accommodation. The secretary replied the officer was on a foreign mission and had been occupying the official house for the past six years. In another case, Rs4.2 million in due amount were not recovered from seven rented shops of the housing ministry.
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The committee members recommended the recovery of the two outstanding arrears along with a few others to be estimated and the details shared in the next meeting.
Gopang stopped discussing other audit paras of the housing ministry and told the officials to come prepared for the next meeting. He also sought details of the official houses occupied illegally in different parts of the country.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 19th, 2016.