Friday December 08, 2023

Transparency International highlights irregularities in PCB’s award of PSL broadcasting rights

By Our Correspondent
January 17, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Transparency International (TI) has accused Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) of several irregularities in the bidding process that gave broadcasting rights of Pakistan Super League (PSL).

According to a January 16 letter sent by TI to PCB’s chief executive officer, a copy of which is available with The News, there were at least six irregularities in the bidding process in violation of the rules of Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA).

Despite the points raised by TI, the PCB has awarded broadcasting rights to PTV-ARY consortium. According to Transparency International’s letter, the bidders were required to submit a Rs10 million pay order with technical proposals. The letter states that ARY failed to submit the pay order, yet its technical proposal was accepted.

“The bidders under Bid Condition Section 3.3, sub-section H, were to submit with technical proposal Bid Security in the following manner: each bidder making a bid for Television Broadcasting Media Rights must provide security of Rupees Ten Million (Rs10,000,000). For bidders incorporated outside Pakistan, payment of bid security may be made in equivalent US dollars using the conversion rate for conversion of foreign currency deposits on the website of the State Bank of Pakistan three days prior to the Bid Submission Deadline. The bid security must be transferred to the designated account and evidence of the transfer must be provided with the technical proposal in the form of confirmation from the bidder’s banker confirming transfer to the designated account. Bidders incorporated in Pakistan may alternatively pay the bid security in Pakistani rupees through pay order submitted as part of their technical proposal.”

The case documents, as per the Transparency International letter, include a Rs10 Million deposit slip of Alfalah Bank, SITE Branch in Karachi, in the PCB account, showing clearing on December 23, 2021.

“This procedure was allowed to the foreign bidders. The banker’s confirmation could not be included in the technical bid (as required by bid condition Section 3.3 quoted above), which was submitted in Lahore, on the morning of December 23, 2021, at 10.30a.m,” the letter states. “This indicates that at the time of submission of bids with PCB, banker’s confirmation of Rs10 million bid security was not included with the technical proposal.”

The Transparency International letter further says that the evaluation report as required under Rule 35 was not available on the PPRA website. According to Rule 35, two evaluation reports were required to be announced by the PCB; a Technical Evaluation Report and a Final Evaluation Report. This is a violation of PPRA Rule 35.

“In the ARY Case, a document is submitted in SHC which states ‘Evaluation Report’. This evaluation report shows the name of the procuring agency as ARY Communications (Private) Limited and Pakistan Television Corporation Ltd, and not the Pakistan Cricket Board. Who signed it is not known, as only the PCB stamp is affixed with some signatures. This appears to be a false evaluation report submitted in the SHC on behalf of Pakistan Cricket Board. The consortium agreement between Pakistan Television Corporation Ltd and ARY Communications Ltd submitted in SHC is an open agreement, as it does not include the date of execution. This undated consortium agreement is not as per law,” the letter says.

According to the letter, after awarding the contract to Pakistan Television Corporation Ltd and ARY Communications Ltd, PCB did not post the contract agreement and the evaluation report on the PPRA website as of January 16, 2022. This is a violation of PPRA Rule 47.

“The PCB bid documents do not include the requirement of signing of the Integrity Pact and ARY Communications (Private) Limited & Pakistan Television Corporation Ltd. has not included the executed Integrity Pact in the court. This is a violation of PPRA Rule seven,” the letter states.

The Transparency International has urged the Pakistan Cricket Board to examine the six issues noted from the documents submitted by ARY Communications (Private) Limited in SHC to verify their authenticity and abide by compliance of PPRA Rules in the evaluation and award process.