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August 9, 2012

Can one be judge of one’s own cause?

 
August 9, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Justice Riaz Ahmad Khan of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) here on Wednesday stayed the award of Rs431 million ‘category III north’ housing construction contract of Pakistan Housing Authority (PHA) to a private construction company National Construction Limited (NCL) whose managing director Hassan Haqqani happened to be the brother of Pakistan’s former emissary to the US Hussain Haqqani.
The petitioner Techno Construction, the runner-up for the said project alleged that Hassan Haqqani’s company took part in the bidding and the tender was awarded to them. Before signing of the agreement the government appointed Haqqani as officiating in charge of the PHA. Now Haqqani would sign the agreement from both sides as a representative of his company NCL and also on behalf of the PHA that would be illegal, legal counsel for the Techno Construction Raja Amir Abbas advocate argued before the court.
The IHC bench while issuing stay order in this matter has issued notices to the secretary housing, PHA and NCL seeking their reply. As per details in this case the PHA through tender notices had invited the construction companies to take part in the bidding for separate categories of Kurri Housing Project that was meant to provide housing facilities to the employees of federal government. The tenders were opened on March 16, 2012.
The outgoing Managing Director of PHA Rasool Bakhash Phulpoto on July 25, issued an acceptance letter to the NCL in response to their lowest bid. Counsel for the petitioner, Raja Amir Abbas advocate told the court that Mr Phulpoto has been removed from the Pakistan Steels under corruption charges and there were three FIRs registered against him.
Mr Phulpoto was also removed from the PHA on July 31 and a few days before he was removed, he gave acceptance letter to the NCL on July 25. Counsel for the petitioner alleged that the award of contract to NCL was done under a shady deal. As per requirement the bidding companies

had to quote the gray rates and the furnished rates as well. Gray rates means the cost of houses without doors, windows, white wash etc while the furnished rates means the cost of houses with all these accessories. NCL had quoted the gray rates only and not the furnished rates thus its rates were the lowest among all the bidders. Counsel for the petitioner told the court that once a deal is final, there used to be a proper signing of an agreement when the successful bidder also given the 10% mobilization charges to start the work.
After July 31 the government appointed Hassan Haqqani as officiating in charge of the PHA who is enjoying all powers of an MD. Now he would be signing the agreement from both sides that would be illegal.
The petitioner has prayed to the court to declare the awarded contract as void and order for the award of contract to the petitioner company as it was on second number after the NCL. The IHC bench after passing the above order put off this matter with date in office.

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