ISLAMABAD: The South Korean construction firm contracted to develop the Information Technology Park in Islamabad is blacklisted in the country it is based in, it has emerged.
The South Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) has imposed a ban on the SUNJIN Engineering and Architecture Company Limited along with penalties on several company members after the firm was found involved in incidences of financial corruption, according to the commission’s website.
Pakistan’s IT ministry had hoped that construction work on the Islamabad IT Park would begin in April. But the blacklisting of the contracted firm by South Korean authorities has slowed down progress on that front.
Still, higher-ups in Pakistan’s IT ministry do not want to end the contract with SUNJIN as yet, sources in the ministry said, raising questions as to why they would want to continue with a company involved in corrupt activities.
“This contract was awarded before our government came to power,” Federal IT Minister Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui told The Express Tribune when contacted. “The Economic Affairs Division (EAD), under the previous government, reached an agreement after conducting a complete inquiry on the matter,” he said.
According to Siddiqui, representatives of the Export-Import Bank of South Korea (Korea Eximbank) – KFTC is based on the bank’s Economic Development Cooperation Framework – had expressed no objections in a meeting with EAD officials regarding the issue.
“EAD and Korea Eximbank are the two important characters in this agreement and must have reviewed all aspects,” he said. Korea Eximbank is supposed to lend Rs10 billion for the park’s construction under the agreement.
“I could not attend that meeting due to flight delays, but I do have a few reservations. I will meet Korea Eximbank representatives soon to clear them,” the minister added.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 3rd, 2019.