ISLAMABAD: Inquiry initiated against FWO for subletting OPF contracts

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By Rauf Klasra

An inquiry has been launched into the scandalous reports that the FWO had sublet a multi-billion rupees overseas housing society development Zone-V contract, which it had earlier got from the OPF through questionable means, to the friends of a PPP minister.

But the OPF officials are not ready to admit that those two contractors were the friends of a PPP minister or they exercised any political clout. MD Overseas Pakistanis Foundation (OPF) Nayyer Hasnain wrote a letter to top FWO officials to explain how it could sublet a contract of Rs 2.4 billion to a private party without any authorisation from the sponsoring agency. The FWO did not bother to even reply to the MD’s letter.

Talking to The News, Nayyar Hasnain confirmed that he wrote a letter to the FWO, asking its officials to submit the details of the whole issue. He said that the FWO was asked to forward the profile of those private companies which were said to be working with them without having the required approval.

When asked whether those two private companies had the backing of a PPP minister or some other powerful politician, he refused to offer any comment. He also refused to term it an “inquiry” into the issue. “We have only asked them to submit details about those contractors,” he said.

Although, the OPF bosses are not ready to admit that the friends of a minister were the beneficiary of the new arrangements between the FWO and a private party from Balochistan but insiders claimed that actually the OPF officials had ignored the shady deal reached between the FWO and the friends of a federal minister.

The scandalous details about the inquiry into the scam were shared with the Senate body on Labour, Manpower and Overseas Pakistanis the other day. The meeting was presided over by Senator Naeem Chattha and attended by Senators Tariq Azeem, Enver Baig, Seemi Siddiqi, Salim Saifullah Khan, Raza Khan Raza, Ilyas Bilour and others. Secretary Labour Asif Hayat, MD OPF and others officials were also present there.

The committee was told that the FWO was given a Rs 2.4 billion rupee contract to develop the Overseas Housing Society. Five interested parties obtained the tender documents but at the last moment, the OPF bosses decided to ignore those who had got the tender documents. When these interested parties tried to submit those papers to qualify for the bidding, the OPF officials did not allow them to bid for the contract and awarded the same to the FWO after assessing the cost of the project on its own.

During the meeting, the MD OPF defended awarding of the contract to the FWO, saying the purpose was to ensure swift completion of a project that had been pending for the last fourteen years. He said that it was an official agency, so one could trust it.

He said that the FWO had not responded to his letter till now, so he could not offer any comment. But, he said, he had clear reports that it was sublet to a private party, which was against the rules.

Chairman Committee Naeem Chattha surprised everyone when he produced an FIR registered against the same private contractors who were sublet this contract. The FIR was registered by the Islamabad Police on a complaint of some locals of an area where the development work was under way. This FIR clearly explained that the FWO had already sublet the contract to someone else without any authority.

But, Senator Salim Saifullah pointed out why they were getting so much upset over the award of billion rupees contract to the FWO, which had now sublet to someone else. He asked whether this was happening for the first time in the history of the FWO. He said it was an open secret that after getting contracts from government departments, the FWO always sublet them after getting its own share. He said the same practice was still continuing with impunity. Senator Naeem Hussain Chattha expressed his sorrow over the sorry state of affairs regarding the contract system.

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