Major scam

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The Oil & Gas Development Company’s (OGDCL) audit department has claimed to have unearthed a questionable award of an $85 million contract for Uch Front End Compression Facility Project at Uch gas field, allegedly perpetrated by a cabal of corrupt top officials of the company, The News has learnt.

According to sources, the OGDCL audit team has also recommended scrapping the said suspect contract, pleading the bidding process and the PPRA rules have been clearly breached in the process.

The audit report, a copy of which is available with The News, also pointed out that the criteria apparently seemed to have been crafted deliberately for bringing the competition down to only two bidders.

It also noted that both bidders were supplying equipment produced by a single manufacturer despite different vendors being available in the market. Hafizur Rehman, the head of the OGDCL audit department, told The News that despite pressure from the OGDCL top officials to waive the audit observations, he refused to revoke the report’s finding.

The details available with The News suggested that only two bidders, Presson Descon Int (Pvt) Ltd (PDIL) in a joint venture (JV) with Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Ltd. (SNGPL) and Hong Kong’s HuiHua Global Tech Ltd in a JV with a local company AJ Corporation, participated in the bidding process for the Uch Front End Compression Facility Project.

Presson-SSGC JV has won the contract after bidding $85 million. “The Presson Descon International was supported during the bidding process by some PTI government top officials as well,” the official alleged.

And more importantly, former and sitting functionaries in the country’s largest state-owned exploration and production company are identified to have developed personal links with the joint ventures of the companies that managed the project through the highly questionable RFO (request for offer) that allegedly seemed to have been drafted in such a way that the project goes smoothly to the favourite bidder.

The ex and existing high officials of the OGDCL, involved in abetting the shady deal, have not been identified as yet; however, the gang of unscrupulous elements involved in the awarding of the contract has been identified in the WhatsApp communications of the former GM of OGDCL Imran Shaukat. These communications from Imran Shaukat to OGDCL Young Goldies also hinted at the acting OGDCL MD’s and SNGPL MD’s alleged involvement in this episode.

Existing Acting Managing Director OGDCL Syed Khalid Siraj Subhani did not reply to The News question regarding the whole ordeal. However, when contacted, the spokesman of OGDCL confirmed the development and said that the gentleman who was shown to have been making some unauthorised communications regarding the status of this case had tried to give some misleading impression on the basis of a fabricated and concocted story. He had previously served in the company and retired a few years back. “The company is investigating the matter to ascertain the motive behind his purported communication.”

The WhatsApp communication from Imran Shaukat in its group of OGDCL Young Goldies last week at 11.25am unfolds the assurances to bidder’s JV companies saying: “Three actions are done that include: 1) after consultation, we prepared appropriate response to audit observations which will be sent to them today through proper channel simultaneously and audit head will also be called and advised to review their observations; 2) MD SNGPL talked to MD OGDCL on Friday as per my discussion with SGM (Senior General Manager) Compression who promised that before leaving the MD seat for next MD OGDCL which is expected in this or next week I (Imran Shaukat) will make sure to resolve this issue; 3) Besides, I (Imran Shaukat) have also asked CEO PDIL to visit MD OGDCL to expedite the process of order placement which he promised to do during the current week. And 4) Last but not least we must pray to Almighty for his help to resolve all hurdles.”

The above communications also strengthen the impression of how deeply top functionaries of OGDCL and SNGPL were involved and active in ensuring the award of the contract to Presson Descon International Limited.

However, the OGDCL spokesman said the procurement process had been concluded strictly in accordance with the PPRA framework and the company’s procurement manual. The contract is being awarded on the basis of the most advantageous bid from technical and financial perspectives.

As a matter of standard practice, all procurement cases involving Rs50 million or above are sent for pre-audit and no exception was made in this case. Internal Audit is under an obligation to review the file, seek clarifications and offer comments.

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