ISLAMABAD: Transparency International Pakistan (TIP) in its letter to Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said that the recommendations of the Media Commission set up by the apex court “can open [the] floodgates of corruption.”
TIP is seeking review of the corruption case of distributing unsolicited advertisements involving Rs4 billion of public money to few media houses and Midas Advertising case where the Punjab government has detected embezzlement in billings amounting to over Rs632 million.
Commenting on the Media Commission Report, TIP said its recommendations are against the law and Public Procurement Rules 2004, and if accepted by the apex court, will open the floodgates of corruption in the country.
TIP pointed out that the report states that as per the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) ordinance, 2002, the scope of scrutiny by PPRA covers only contracts of Rs50 million and more, whereas, the practice of government entities is to conduct advertising in segments that do not exceed Rs50 million.
The commission is wrong to state that as per the PPRA Ordinance, 2002, the scope of scrutiny by PPRA covers only contracts of Rs50 million and more, TIP said. Nowhere in the PPRA Ordinance, is such a limit defined, it said.
If this recommendation is accepted by the apex court, the main essence of PPRA will be defeated, and all procuring agencies in Pakistan will quote Supreme Court order that below Rs50 million the PPRA Rules do not become applicable.
In fact, according PPRA Rules, the authority has the mandate to scrutinise procurement of goods and services valued even below Rs2 million.
TIP, in its letter to the chief justice, said the recommendations of the commission regarding the Rs632 million corruption documented by the Punjab government against Midas Advertising are also wrong.
According to the commission, the chief executive of Midas states that allegations of corruption arise from professional and political jealousy of rivals.
“To remove widespread misgivings as also to clear the name and reputation of persons and firms that may be innocent of allegations, the Commission is of the opinion that this particular instance should be investigated through forensic audit by the relevant authorities at either NAB or any other relevant forum,” the commission recommended.
TIP said the allegations of corruption on Midas Advertising are not hearsay, but an official report of Government of Punjab based on the audit by the director general Pakistan Revenue.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 29th, 2013.
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