PAC refers new Islamabad airport corruption scam to NAB

ISLAMABAD: The Public Accounts Committee of the Parliament Wednesday referred a matter regarding alleged corruption in a New Islamabad International Airport (NIIA) project to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for investigation within three months.

PPRA Chairman Khizar Hayat told the PAC, which met here with Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah in the chair, that his department had in a letter pointed out to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) irregularities in the tender advertisement for the project at the time of its issuance but the CAA did not heed.

The PAC noted that the additional work of ‘Special Baggage Handling System for Passenger Terminal Building’ at the airport costing Rs 587.157 million was granted to M/s Thales-Slex-GE JV companies on the basis of negotiations instead of getting approved the revised PC-1 for the purpose.

The audit also revealed that the contractors in the joint ventures were not registered with the Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC). The lowest bid for the project was Rs 3,916.801 million but work was awarded to the above companies for Rs 4,503.958 million in violation of law.

The PPRA chairman informed the committee that additional work could not be awarded on basis of negotiations beyond the approved bid and tender.

Briefing the PAC, CAA Secretary Irfan Qadir adopted the stance that the contractor company had applied for the registration with the PEC when above work was awarded to it. He, however, admitted the irregularities in the award of project.

To a question, he said Brigadier ® Pervaiz Niazi was the project director and the final approving authority.

Khursheed Shah observed that about Rs 1.5 billion corruption was committed in the project. A first information report (FIR) should be registered against the responsible.

The PAC subsequently referred the matter to the NAB chairman with directives to submit its investigation report within three months.

Briefing the body about foreign tours of PIA directors, the CAA secretary said that Rs 36 million was spent over foreign visits of PIA officers and Rs 4 million on the visits of CAA officers during 2016.

The meeting was attended by Syed Naveed Qamar, Dr. Azra Fazal Pechuho, Dr. Arif Alvi, Azam Khan Sawatti, Mushahid

Hussain Syed, Shafqat Mehmood, Sardar Aashiq Gopang, Shireen Rehman, Abdul Rashid Godil, Hadayatullah, Sheikh Rashid, Chaudhry Nazir and Mehmood Khan Achakzai.