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August 4, 2018

SC seeks 10-year record of all mega projects’ contracts

Top Story

August 4, 2018

LAHORE: A three-judge Supreme Court bench, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, Friday ordered the Punjab Planning & Development Department to furnish complete record of the contracts awarded to private companies in mega projects during the last 10 years.

The court issued the order while hearing a suo motu notice about award of all contracts to a bunch of companies. Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Ijazul Ahsan were the other members of the bench.

During the hearing, the chief justice questioned “why only five to six companies kept getting all contracts in Punjab? “Each big project in Punjab bears the name of few specific companies,” he highlighted while observing that if any irregularity was found in the matter the case would be sent to the departments concerned.

“We will set up a commission if need arises, to scrutinise transparency of the process of giving contracts to companies,” the top judge added. A single company received 22 contracts worth billions in merely 24 months, the chief justice noted and ordered for submission of details of all construction contracts given over last five years.

The P&D officer told the bench that contracts of Rs70 billion had been awarded to ZKB, Rs68 billion to Habib Construction, Rs14 billion to Maqbool Construction and Rs4 billion to MAAK Sons.

An officer from Planning & Development department and representatives/counsel for Habib Construction Services, Zahir Khan Brothers (ZKB), Maqbool Construction, MAAK Sons, Reliable Engineering Services and Sarwar & Co were present in the court.

Lawyers for the companies urged the court to also direct the department to present details of all companies participated in the bidding processes. They also asked the court to summon record of the contracts awarded to National Logistic Cell (NLC).

The chief justice observed that there were serious complaints that all the contract of mega projects in the province had been awarded to these companies. “One can find these companies in every project, initiated by the Punjab government,” he added.

The chief justice directed the department to furnish within three weeks details of all contracts right from advertisement to bidding process. Justice Ahsan told the companies’ representatives that they should not be worried if they had not done anything wrong. “Culprits would be taken to task and heroes would be lauded,” the judge added.

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