RNPP Procurement Scam
Two probe bodies formed, payment of bills stopped
Published : Monday, 20 May, 2019 at 12:00 AM Count : 814
Two separate probe bodies led by an additional secretary of the Ministry of Housing and Public Works and an additional chief engineer of the Public Works Department (PWD) have been formed to investigate procurement scam of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant Project in Pabna.
The housing and public works ministry has formed the probe body after publication of news on the issue in different newspapers of the country.
At the same time, the Ministry has also imposed suspension on releasing bills to the contractors, who had shown such unbelievable prices of furniture, products, beddings and different electronic appliances. The suspension will remain effective until the probe report is submitted, Ministry's Public Relation Officer Iftekhar Ahmed said in a statement given to different media on Sunday. In the statement, Iftekhar said the PWD has appointed the contractors following due processes with its 'delegated power'. Before awarding the contract, it has floated tender through e-GP (Government Procurement) for six packages for supplying the furniture for six buildings. Value of every package was Tk 30.00 crore.
There was no relation of the Ministry with the entire procurement process. Rather, the Ministry is always sincere about prevention of misuse of public funds, he said.
It also stated that after learning about the massive misuse of public funds, the Ministry has formed two separate probe bodies. Of those, an additional secretary to the Ministry will led a body while another will be led by an additional chief engineer of the PWD. "The probe body will submit probe report on the issue as soon as possible. Until then, the PWD authority will not release the bills of the procurement process. Releasing the fund will remain suspended," he said adding that the authority hasn't yet released or paid any bill for the work.
After getting the probe report, the contractors will be paid their bills following the suggestions of the probe body and considering the actual market price of the furniture and electronic appliances.
Besides, the authorities concerned claimed that the inconsistency is not only in the procurement process, it's also prevailing in the salaries and other benefits of the officials and employees. They are getting unusual salaries and benefits from the project.
According to the statement of the authority, the project director has been getting around Tk 6.96 lakh from the project as his salary. Of the amount, Tk 4.96 lakh has been given as regular salary while Tk 2 lakh has been given for his additional charge as managing director of the project. The salary that the PD has been drawing is seven times higher than a secretary.
The lowest salary of the project was set at Tk 63,708 for its gardener and cook. At the same time, they are getting additional Tk 16,000 for discharging duties for the managing authority. Including everything, a gardener or a cook of the project has been drawing total Tk 79,708, which is similar to a secretary of the civil bureaucracy.
Other benefits of the project officials and employees are also unusual than the other officials and employees of the government and any other non-government entities.
According to the Planning Commission statement, around Tk 700 crore was allocated for payment of officers and staff's salaries and Tk 65 crore was allocated for buying vehicles for project officials. To buy different equipments, Tk 292 crore was allocated while Tk 111 crore was given for buying computers and softwares, Tk 140 crore for buying telecom materials, Tk 3,287 crore for land acquisition, Tk 2,992 crore for buying project consultants and services.
The authority has given block allocation of around Tk 3,800 crore for the project showing no reasons. As a result, scope of huge misappropriation was created in the project, the experts claimed.