Unthinkable corruption in procurement deals
Recently a news report published in this news paper highlighted that expenditure of various household gadgets used to furnish the Rooppur nuclear power plant project apartments were abnormally higher than the market price. Accusations made for misusing procurement funds stood at approximately Tk 200 crore out of total expenditure of Tk 225.70 crore in the name of buying furniture and home appliances.
Moreover, the transportation charges of expensive furniture were over-inflated. And rather mysteriously, each pillow was purchased at Tk 5,957 and cost of transporting it from the ground floor to upstairs was priced at Tk 760, an electric stove was purchased at Tk 7,747 and the cost of transporting was Tk 6,650. To our utter amazement, an electric iron costs less than a pillow! Though the nature of this misuse of fund in procurement of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant project is not new but certainly much bigger in magnitude.
When all government procurement is done under public procurement rules (PPR) and tenders are submitted electronically then how can massive irregularities of such magnitude happen? Under current circumstances, the project's executive engineer stated that all procurement rules were followed as per the rule book. The procedure in general is that when a government authority, called procuring entity, goes for procurement of any goods or services it invites proposals through newspapers--intending suppliers to submit proposals. The committee will examine the proposals, responsive participants in the tender quoting the lowest price is usually selected for handling the project.
If the above procedure has been followed appropriately as prescribed by PPR--why are the prices of items have been priced so illogically?
The fault actually lies deep within the mala fide intention for a making a quick buck: the cost of the goods and transportation was deliberately over estimated. Understandably, a syndicate in connivance with the project's procurement team and suppliers have availed the contract. And these syndicates of sinister parties together have been looting the project's procurement funds.
Recently a writ petition was filed at the High Court seeking judicial investigation into allegations of purchasing irregularities. The culprits should be brought to justice. Additionally government should involve anti-corruption commission and audit accounts department for further investigation in this regard. Apparently there are some serious flaws in the procedure that has kept all room for corruption flat open. The loopholes within the procedure should be addressed urgently so to deter all forms of corruption.
Last of all, it's time to hold the Rooppur officials accountable for their irresponsible and corrupt actions. We are compelled to question their patriotic and professional obligations. Their moral degradation must be taken into serious consideration.