KARACHI: The controversial Rs8 billion agreement for the procurement of armoured personnel carriers (APCs) for the Sindh police has been challenged in the Supreme Court (SC).
A civil rights campaigner, Syed Mehmood Akhtar Naqvi, has challenged the Sindh Emergency Procurement Act 2014 and subsequent procurements, including that of the APCs for the police, made under the law. Naqvi filed a constitutional petition with the SC's Karachi registry, wherein he named the Sindh government, Sindh police chief, the foreign firm selling the APCs and others as respondents.
The petitioner alleged that the APCs for the Sindh police were being purchased from Serbia at the behest of former SP Shakib Qureshi, who is the front man for influential political personalities. The used APCs have already been scrapped in Serbia, but the authorities are purchasing the same at a high cost of repairing that amounts to Rs120 million per vehicle.
The petitioner claimed that the same vehicles can be purchased brand new from America at a relatively lower price of Rs40 million each. He recalled that the direct agreement, without inviting the procurement tender, was signed with Yugoimport SDPR JP Company of Serbia by the then Sindh IG Shabir Sheikh on March 15, 2013.
The petitioner submitted that he had brought the matter into the knowledge of the National Accountability Bureau. Although a briefing was given by Logistics AIG Tanveer Tahir to the NAB DG on April 26, the bureau was not satisfied with it. According to the petitioner, former IG Shahid Nadeem Baloch had told the Sindh chief minister about the corruption in the procurement of the APCs.
Mehmood Akhtar Naqvi said that Legal AIG Ali Sher Jakhrani was recently removed from his post for refusing to give his opinion about the procurement of the rejected APCs.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 22nd, 2014.
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