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O
ONLINE
May 19, 2006
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Wheat transportation: Rs74 million fake claims unearthed

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O
ONLINE
May 19, 2006

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KARACHI: Chief Minister’s Inspection Team (CMIT) has unearthed over Rs74 million fake claims by transporters who were awarded contracts for transportation of wheat within various districts of Sindh.

Transporters had submitted a petition with the Sindh High Court against the provincial Food Department for non-payment of some Rs205 million arrears as wheat handling and transportation charges.

After hearing the case, the court ordered the Sindh government to release the outstanding amount by May 19, 2006, however, the court subjected the payment of arrears to verification of claims.

In the light of the court’s decision, an inspection committee was constituted with the task to verify the claims submitted by transporters. However, the report submitted by the inspection team irked the Food Department that raised serious objections to the mode of verification adopted by the team.

The provincial Food Department also argued that the inspection team ignored basic rules and did not follow standard principles during checking of record and ignored government interest. The secretary, instead of chairman of inspection team, prepared the claims’ verification report.

Two officials including secretary of the inspection team were suspended on charges of preparing the report with hobnob of transporters.

The Food Department refused to accept the report and returned it with strong objections.

Later, Sindh Chief Minister taking serious notice constituted CMIT to look into the matter and ordered fresh inspection of the record of claims submitted by the transporters.

The CMIT after scrutinising the claims sent final report to the concerned department. The CMIT verified only Rs131 million claims as correct instead of Rs205 million submitted by the transport contractors.

According to sources, the Sindh Food Department has requested provincial Finance Department to clear the outstanding amount of transport contractors

according to the report of CMIT till May 19.

The Sindh Food Department has procured some 0.685 million tonnes of wheat out of targeted 0.7 million tonnes during the current season. The provincial department is still facing shortage of storage facilities.

A number of transporters were awarded contracts for handling and transportation of wheat within various districts of Sindh for the period ended on February 28, 2006. The contracts were awarded after open bidding, which was duly advertised in the press, sources said.

Wheat worth over Rs4 billion, lying in the open at procurement centers, was to be loaded and transported by the transporters at the rate of Rs55.68 per bag of 100 kg. The National Logistics Cell had not participated in the open bidding.

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