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Performance audit report unearths huge potholes in BRT project

By Bureau report
June 22, 2019

PESHAWAR: The Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) report has unearthed huge potholes in the Peshawar Sustainable Bus Rapid Transit Corridor Project, commonly as BRT project, which cost the nation millions of rupees, besides compromising the quality of the work and materials of its corridor.

The performance audit report of the BRT project by AGP, the copy of which is available with The News, has found irregularities in the project, right from the award of the design consultancy contract to the delay in the completion of the project. The performance audit report has also pointed out that irregularity was noticed in the procurement of buses for the corridor and some bureaucrats were given hefty amounts in addition to their own salaries as RTI allowances from the project money. The civil work contracts, it suggested, were awarded in haste in the absence of detailed engineering design. It said that the design consultancy was even granted to the design consultancy firm without the assessment of its outputs which stands illegal and responsibility for the same need to be fixed as it cost Rs615 million to the exchequer. The report also found out that Rs1.9 billion was lost due to delay in the completion of the corridor.

It noticed that as per the contract agreement if at anytime the contractors' actual progress falls behind the schedule despite the notices, the government should have imposed the penalty as agreed in the contract that in the BRT case comes to Rs1.9 billion for all the three Reaches of the project. The auditors recommended its recovery of the amount.

The audit paras in the report also noticed that pre-mature delivery of the fleet of BRT buses also caused about $7,932,030 to the exchequer while the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the TransPIt further found out that about Rs10 billion were feared to be lost due to irregular and un-authorised variations, while neither no-objection certificate (NOC) nor alternative design options at the conceptual level were acquired.

It said that during the performance audit, it was noticed that certain variations having a budgetary impact of Rs10,465 million and another amount of Rs160. 854 million was overpaid to the contractors.

The report also underlined a loss of Rs200.185 million due to payment of excess quantity of pile concrete while it also recorded Rs3.524 million irregular purchase of vehicles that included one vehicle for director general (DG) audit, one for senior director engineer, two cars for directors, four for deputy directors, four cars for assistant directors, two pick-ups for field staff and four motorcycles for dak runners.

The report also mentioned the accrued liability of additional cost of unnecessary early shipment of the prototype bus through the land in violation of the contract. This additional cost, the report indicates, comes to Rs3.525 million.

The audit paras further indicate that Rs17.700 million un-authorised payment to bureaucrats was also noticed during the performance audit report.

These officers include additional chief secretary (ACS), who received Rs3.9 million from the project from November 2017 to October 2018, secretary Local Government, Rs6.9 million from December 2016 to October 2018, secretary Transport Rs3.3 million from December 2017 to October 2018 and commissioner Rs3.6 million from November 2017 to October 2018.

During the performance audit of the project director BRT project, it was noticed that a sum of Rs28. 938 million was paid to various officers and officials as BRT allowance. However, the staff to whom this allowance was paid was not included in the list given in PC-1. Similarly, Rs716.663 million “wasteful expenditure on beatification, construction of roads, repair and maintenance and electrification” were made on roads along with the BRT routes months before the groundbreaking of the project.

The financial progress on the project shows that till February 2019 that Rs29 billion has been spent on the civil work of the project that constitutes 61 percent of the total price of the civil works of the project that is Rs42 billion while total approved expenditure of the project comes to Rs66.437 billion.

The auditors recommended that the contract management system must properly be put in place for smooth implementation of the project and to achieve this goal, the government must avoid giving hasty and unrealistic deadlines for the project completion.

Speaking in Geo News programme Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada KP Information Minister Shaukat Yusufzai said the auditor general's paper in question is actually an observation, not report. He was confident the audit observations would be settled in meeting with the auditors.