The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has given a clean slate to Federal Railways Minister Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour and former chairman of Pakistan Railways (PR) Kashif Murtaza in the multi-million-rupee railways’ bulk scrap tenders scandal.
The move comes despite NAB’s investigations lending credence to charges against Bilour and Murtaza, besides other influential officials of the PR and its contractors, sources familiar with the matter said. NAB’s investigation report said that the accused misused their authority in connivance with private contractors, by illegally awarding the sale of tender Numbers 588-B and 607-B in bulk in violation of the Pakistan Railways Code for the Stores Department and the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority rules.
The report added that the accused PR officers provided pecuniary benefits to the contractors and gained the same for themselves. The tenders had been awarded to those contractors who are said to have close contacts to Bilour and top-ranking officials of the PR for lower rates, compared to the open market rates. As a result the national exchequer incurred a loss of Rs80.1 million, whereas the sale of the scrap material led to a loss of Rs268.9 million for the railways.
The investigation revealed that the scrap tenders were auctioned by the PR at Rs28,700 per metric tonne, against the market price of around Rs37,000 per metric tonne. Thus, NAB investigators stopped the contractors from acquiring the remaining 34,000 metric tonnes of scrap material from the PR’s storage facilities for sale.
The bureau’s investigation further alleged that Murtaza illegally assumed the jurisdiction for selling the railways scrap in bulk, therefore every subsequent action in the tender becomes ‘void ab initio’, by the very assumption of the illegal jurisdiction of power for selling the scrap in bulk. Ex-chairman of the PR, Samiul Haq Khilji and General Manager Operations Saeed Akhtar admitted that the practice of bulk tendering was never disputed by any office or officer of the railways, though the provision of bulk tendering was not allowed under any law, code or railways’ manual.
Despite the fact that the former chief controller of the Pakistan Railways Code for the Stores Department alleged that Bilour, Khilji and Akhtar received Rs150 million from the contractors for granting permission of the sale of the scrap contrary to the rules of the PR as illegal gratification, NAB has yet to summon Bilour even once to clarify his position, while Murtaza has also not been interrogated.
The scandal is a first in the history of the railways body, as it allowed the sale to restrict competition and keep other prospective bidders away from participating in the bidding. NAB has not only cleared the accused of all wrongdoing, it has also not filed a reference before the accountability court and has closed down the investigation, sources claimed.
Updated at: 18 May 2013
Atletico stun 10-man Real to win their 10th Spanish Cup MADRID: Atletico Madrid won their 10th Spanish Cup when they beat bitter city rivals Real Madrid 2-1 in extra-time in a match which saw both Jose Mourinho and Cristiano Ronaldo sent off.
Real had been unbeaten in the previous 25 meetings between the two sides dating back 14 years and Mourinho’s men on Friday got off to the perfect start when Ronaldo headed in Luka Modric’s corner.
However, Diego Costa levelled for Atletico 10 minutes before half-time and Los Rojiblancos rode their luck as ...
Updated at: 18 May 2013
Shots fired at Cannes film festival, actors flee for cover CANNES: A man was arrested at the Cannes film festival on Friday after firing a starting pistol during a live TV broadcast on the palm-lined waterfront, sending actors Christoph Waltz and Daniel Auteuil running for cover.
French TV station Canal+ was interviewing Austria’s Oscar-winning Waltz and French actor Auteuil live on its nightly news show from a beach-front set before a crowd of spectators when a man fired two shots into the air.
“The bodyguards jumped over the barriers into the crowd ...
Prolonged loadshedding cripples life in Lahore LAHORE: Citizens in the city are facing tough situation as power outages have increased due to increase in temperature, making life and businesses miserable, Geo News reported Saturday.
Yet again, the prolonged hours of loadshedding has marred life in Lahore in the worst possible way, making it ... ML-N parliamentary party meeting on May 20 ISLAMABAD: Muslim League–Nawaz (ML-N) has called for a meeting of its parliamentary party on May 20 here, Geo News reported Saturday.
Sources said that the meeting would discuss formation of governments in the centre, Punjab and Balochistan besides first 100-day plan, relief in load shedding, ... Sherry Rehman urges US to stop drone attacks WASHINGTON: Sherry Rehman, who has recently resigned as Pakistan Ambassador to the US, urged Washington to stop drone attacks as they were damaging its image.
Addressing at a farewell ceremony given in her honor at the Pakistani embassy, She said that trade should be the basis for the relations ... PTI will win NA-250: Arif Alvi KARACHI: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Secretary General Dr Arif Alvi said on Friday that the PTI would win NA-250 seat in the re-polling.
He was addressing participants of the PTI sit-in near Teen Talwar against the alleged rigging.
Alvi said that 17 political parties had proposed at the all ... Impressive turnout: Seventy-two National Assembly members-elect bag 20% of total votes ISLAMABAD: Seventy-two candidates for the National Assembly bagged around 10 million votes or 20 per cent of approximately 50 million votes cast in the May 11 elections that witnessed an impressive turnout.
These candidates were declared victorious when each of them secured more than a hundred ...