Senate’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has decided to probe into irregularities in the aviation sector and has ordered investigations this Tuesday.
One of the irregularities was the high-profile case discovered after the scrutiny of the audit reports. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) overpaid by 232% on a contract to build boarding bridges at the New Islamabad Airport. This contract was awarded to a firm called M/s ADELTE/HRL. The CAA paid 6 billion (232% higher than the originally approved Rs 2.5 billion).
PAC Chairman Khursheed Shah assembled a team to look into the details and find logic behind this dubious award of contract. The director general informed the PAC,
The Rs 6 billion contract cost was one-fourth more than the engineers’ estimates.
The PAC is also using Pakistan Engineering Council’s (PEC) and the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) in another irregularity of Rs. 4.5 billion in a “baggage handling system”. Audit revealed that Rs 4.5 billion was spent when a bid of Rs 3.9 billion was available. Khursheed Shah remarked,
It is a unique case in my career where the bid price was Rs3.9 billion while the CAA gave the work order at Rs4.5 billion.
Missing Aircraft Case
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has been asked by the Senate’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to look into the case of the airplane which was sold to a German museum.
It started when PAC found that a PIA plane had been missing. Upon later investigation, it was found that the plane was not missing but it was sold to a German museum in Leipzig without permission. No agreements were made by the PIA and no cash in advance was received for the A-310.
The plane was chartered by a British company in a movie before being sold to the museum. This was reported by the PIA spokesperson Mashood Tajawar.
The PAC chairman, Khursheed Shah, said that this brought a bad name to Pakistan after the audit of PIA by PAC. He ordered NAB to bring a conclusion to this matter and trace the trail back to the people who committed this felony and ordered to investigate who let the name of former CEO of PIA, Bernd Hildenbrand be removed from the Exit Control List (ESL). He asked,
“How come a plane of the national flag carrier reached Germany without any due process?”
The German citizen and former acting-CEO of PIA, Bernd Hildenbrand, has been charged with selling the ‘missing’ aircraft illegally. He firstly went on a leave and then he was removed from his post. He is supposedly in Germany at present.
Khursheed Shah pledged to find the people responsible and conclude this case – he asked for the records and details of the trips made by high-ranking officials of PIA, such as Bernd Hildenbrand in the past year.