Too much leeway: Faulty construction at SC building earns Rs15m fine for contractor

Plan to blacklist the executing agency dropped to ensure fine amount recovery.

Azam Khan August 24, 2011


A Supreme Court committee has punished a contractor for carrying out faulty construction in the apex court building. The punishment falls short of blacklisting the company and imposes only Rs15 million fine on the firm that carried out work on the Supreme Court Building phase-II.

The work on the Rs268.5 million project started in July 2007 with a two-year deadline for its completion. The project was to be completed by June 2009 but the firm missed the deadline which was then extended till October 2010.

Matracon executed the work with Pepac Pakistan as a consultant firm and law ministry as the sponsoring agency.

After five months of completion of the project, cracks appeared in the newly installed doors and windows. In the recent monsoon spell, on August 8, rainwater entered in the Supreme Court building, Presidency and Parliament House.

Justice (retd) Khalil Rehman Ramday, taking notice of the issue directed Capital Development Authority (CDA) chairman to investigate the issue to fix responsibility in this regard. CDA chairman had constituted a four-member fact-finding committee comprising member administration Shoukat Mohmand, member, Environment, Mian Waheedud Din, Director General Works Syed Abrar Hussain Shah (now member engineering) and his deputy Tanveer Hussain Shah.

The committee found Matracon responsible for the substandard work and recommended action against it.

The joints of some doors were freed owing to substandard quality of wood used in the building. The committee also found the wood test report of Forest Products Research Division of the Ministry of Environment forged. The report had stated that the quality of wood used in approximately 160 doors installed in the building was satisfactory.

Two members of the committee, the incumbent member engineering Abrar Hussain Shah and Deputy DG Works Tanveer Hussain Shah, had also visited the office of Forest Products Research Division in Peshawar where they found out that the division had neither issued positive wood test report to CDA and that CDA officials had produced a forged report in this regard.

In the light of the report, the CDA chairman had recommended to the SC Building Committee to blacklist Matracon, impose a ban on Pepac and initiate departmental inquiry against some officials including then Director Works Najeebur Rehman, who was working as project director.

CDA Chairman Imtiaz Inayat Elahi said, “We also conveyed our message to the Supreme Court that in case of blacklisting the construction firm, the recovery would not be possible hence the plan to blacklist the company was dropped.”

Published in The Express Tribune, August 24th, 2011.

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