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National

October 12, 2018

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The missing Kiani connection in NAB’s Ashiana ‘scam’?

ISLAMABAD: In the Ashiana housing scheme issue being touted by NAB as a mega white collar scam, there is a key missing link “Kamran Kiani”, younger brother of former COAS Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

What the NAB Lahore has not been found so far interested to look into is the fact that the process for the cancellation of Calsons’ contract for Ashiani housing scheme actually started following a complaint made to the then Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif by Kamran Kiani (when his elder brother was Army Chief) about the alleged wrong doing and collusive tendering process in favour of Calsons.

Kamran Kiani had a construction firm called ConPro, which had also competed for this Ashiana contract but could not get it. Sources said that the Kamran Kiani’s complaint was backed by a CD containing audio recording and a picture which suggested an alleged wrong doing and collusive tendering. Following this complaint, Shahbaz Sharif referred the matter to a committee led by the then secretary finance Punjab and presently Governor SBP Tariq Bajwa.

The complainant had also appeared before Bajwa committee and had produced electronic evidence in the form of a CD and a picture in support of his complaint. The CD allegedly contained conversation between engineers and contractors where in a group of people were doing interpolation and fraudulent entries in the items left blank by Calsons, at time of submitting the tenders. The picture, according to the sources, showed a representative of Calsons in company of Engineer of PLDC in a private premises.

According to sources Kamran Kiani alleged that Calsons intentionally left critical items in the tender bid blank, and these were filled in by Calsons and engineers of PLDC, at the night after looking at rates of other competitors.

Bajwa Committee though said that prima facie the contract was processed and awarded as per PPRA rules, it pointed out the following: “i) It would have been prudent to seek bids from all thirteen pre-qualified bidders; ii) Bids were opened on 03-12-2012 while the bidding documents were handed over to the Consultant on 04-12-2012 which should have been handed over the same day; iii) M/s ECSP (engineering consulting services Limited) should not have directly accepted the Pre-qualification documents of M/s ConPro.”

The Bajwa Committee also referred to the Kamran Kiani’s allegations and electronic evidence and suggested: “Theallegations made by M/s ConPro and confided with MD ECSP may merit independent probe and CMIT (Chief Minister’s Inspection Team) may be tasked to follow it up.”

Following the Bajwa Committee’s recommendations, the Chief Minister referred the probe into Kamran Kiani’s allegations to anti-corruption department.

Upon receiving the Bajwa Committee report, Fawad Hasan Fawad recorded on file the following decisions of the Chief Minister: “The above report (Bajwa report) was placed before the Chief Minister who has been pleased to disagree with the conclusion drawn by the Committee. Chief Minister has been further pleased to observe as under:-

i) M/s ECSP accepted the pre-qualfication documents of one of the bidders (ConPro, Kamran Kiani’s firm) directly which was outside its assigned scope of work;

ii) Date of tendering was initially fixed as 30th November, 2012. However, the said date and time was extended for a few hours on the intervention of Tender Committee Members to allow one of the participants to furnish CDR;

iii) CDR furnished by another party was no according to the terms of bid documents as 50% of the amount of CDR was provided from a non-scheduled bank as against the clear requirement of only a scheduled bank;

iv) Subsequently, three parties were asked to furnish tenders on 3rd December, 2012 i.e. after only three days, instead of extending the same invitation to all thirteen pre-qualified bidders majority of whom was no able to participate on the first date;

v) The bid documents, signed only on the title page by the Members of the Committee, were illegally withheld in the office of PLDC for one day instead of an immediate handover to the project consultant i.e. M/s ECP; and,

vi) One of the bidder provided certain documentary evidence of extended contract between a contractor, who has been awarded the contract, and Project Director including an extended meeting at the residence of the Project Director on the evening of tendering date when the tender documents were illegally withheld with the Project Director.”

While noting the above, Fawad Hasan Fawad issued the following direction: “In view of the serious nature of ommissions & commissions, Chief Minster has been pleased to desire that Anti-Corruption Establishment shall immediately constitute a three member team to be headed by an officer not below the rank of a Director SCE, to enquire into the entire process of tendering and award of contract.”

Strangely NAB has neither summoned Kamran Kiani to verify his complaint not produced the key electronic evidence of conversation before any court. Sources say that after the initiation of inquiry into the matter by NAB all the record along with the CD was handed over by Anti-corruption department to the Bureau.

Fawad Hasan Fawad family sources have rubbished the allegation that he had favoured Kamran Kiani in return to some money transaction in his account. They insist that in the first para of orders recorded by Fawad on instructions of CM , he had ousted ConPro, the company of complaint Kamran Kiani by holding that Kiani had submitted his bid directly to the ECSP consultants, which is violation of procedure.

In the case of cancellation of Calsons’ contract, the Kamran Kiani’s entry played the important role but this important aspect including the evidence that he had shared, is not being focused by NAB. The details as shared in this story, shows that Kamran Kiani got no relief from Shahbaz Sharif or Fawad.

It is also relevant to mention here that after two years of Fawad’s departure from Punjab, the housing project was awarded to CASA in a new public private partnership model legislated by the Punjab Assembly.

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