Laptops Purchase – Corruption watchdog Transparency International praises Punjab govt
Karachi (April 18, 2012) – Pakistan chapter of the global corruption watchdog Transparency International has appreciated the Punjab government’s response regarding its letter in which allegations were leveled about the purchase of 110,000 laptops by the provincial government.
Transparency International Pakistan (TIP) had sent a letter to the Chairman of P&D Board/ex-officio Project Manager of the Punjab government’s IT Labs Project, Javaid Aslam, on April 6, alleging violation of Punjab Procurement Rules, 2009, in the procurement of laptops.
TIP’s Adviser Syed Adil Gilani, while acknowledging the response/clarification received on April 17, at the outset informed him that Article 19-A makes the right to access of information pertaining to a public authority, a fundamental right.
Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah in his landmark judgment Ataullah Malik vs Federation of Pakistan, reported in PLD 2010 Lahore 605, had held as under:
“Right to information is another corrective tool which allows public access to the working and decision making of the public authorities. It opens the working of public administration to public scrutiny. This necessitates transparent and structured exercise of discretion by the public functionaries. Article 19-A empowers the civil society of this country to seek information from public institutions and hold them answerable.”
According to the chairman, P&D board’s letter, the procedure used in this procurement was summarised below:
1. In the procurement of 110,000 laptops, a transparent procedure was followed in accordance with Punjab Procurement Rules, 2009, the final purchase cost of Rs37,700 per laptop was much below the market cost;
2. This price is inclusive of a backpack, air shipping, pre-shipment inspection, extended 15-month warranty, storage and inland transportation charges and delivery to educational institutions across Punjab;
3. The bid documents were issued to all interested firms, which included detailed terms and conditions, specifications and evaluation criteria, in accordance with Rule 23,
4. According to the bid document, the procurement was to be undertaken through establishing LC at-sight, which meant that payment would be made immediately on delivery. However, during finalising the mode of payment, the firm offered to establish a Letter of Credit for 30 days.
5. Under this arrangement, the supplier is offering a 30-day credit to the government of Punjab, even after delivery of laptops as payments are being made 30 days after presentation of documents by the supplier firm to the bank, after the goods have been received by the purchaser.
6. The specifications in tender were exactly the same as the product procured and Core i3 or i5 chipsets were never mentioned in the bid documents. Bid documents were also attached for perusal of TIP.
7. A 15-month parts warranty, against the industry norm of 12 months, inclusive of battery, is provided for all laptops.
8. The Higher Education Department has already sent a copy of contract under NAO 33B to NAB.
Based on the above clarification given by the Chairman P&D Board/ex-officio Project Manager, in accordance with the specifications and evaluation criteria included in the tender documents, the procedure as prescribed by Punjab Procurement Rules, 2009, has been adopted, Gilani said. He added that the allegations reported on April 6 this year prima facie do not appear to be correct.
TIP further appreciated the detailed response to its letter of April 6, 2012, and requested the chairman “to please continue to follow Punjab Procurement Rules, 2009, in all procurements in your department, which will result in awards of all contracts to lowest evaluated responsive bid”.
TIP assured that it was striving for the rule of law in Pakistan, which is the only way to eliminate corruption and have good governance in the country.
Copies of the letter were forwarded for information to the following:
The chief minister of Punjab, the Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court and the Managing Director of the PPRA Punjab, Lahore.