The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the parliament has deemed abuse of authority in procurement of medical supplies to fight COVID-19 pandemic through participation of unrelated individual.
PAC Chairman Bharat Kumar Shah during the committee's meeting on Monday said preliminary study has showed that authority has been abused by bringing in unrelated individual instead of the departmental head leading the procurement process. He also pointed that budget was demanded only after moving the procurement process forward.
He added that there were no grounds for involvement of expert health advisor in the procurement process, and no role of the evaluation committee as required in the Public Procurement Act could be seen.
He also stated that Anita Business House Pvt Ltd, that was not involved in preliminary discussion, was made participant in the dialogue and quotation sought from it, and opined that there was difference in price as price estimation was made in Nepali currency and the agreement signed in US dollars.
He pointed that agreement to sign medical supplies was signed with Omni Business Pvt Ltd, it was unilaterally revoked on April 2 two days before the deadline expired, the government wrote to the Public Procurement Monitoring Office to blacklist Omni but no steps were taken to estimate the loss to the Health Ministry due to Omni and to make it pay reparations.
Preliminary study has also showed that agreement was signed illegally to procure N-95 masks at Rs 828.67 per unit despite estimated cost of Rs 462.50 while the masks were not procured when a minimum bid of Rs 648 was received one month back when the estimated cost was Rs 265.48.
The committee has pointed that the price of thermal guns was set at Rs 7,500 per unit while procuring from Omni while it was set at Rs 4,000 when procuring a month earlier violating the provision requiring the estimated cost of any material procured by a public institution to remain unchanged throughout a year.
It has said that the government has written to bank to confiscate guarantee of Omni but information has yet to be provided whether that was confiscated or not, and supplies brought by Omni were used without testing for quality and making the group pay for the losses incurred, and payment made illegally for the same.