ECP gives explanation over AGP report

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Sunday issued an explanation over a story published in The Express Tribune on Saturday, in which the Auditor General of Pakistan’s report stated that the poll watchdog caused a loss of Rs360 million to the national exchequer by providing undue benefit to a company while purchasing ballot boxes for the 2018 election.

The ECP high-ups adopted the stance that the contract was awarded to the second lowest bidder against the lowest bidder in order to obtain quality equipment and supplies for the 2018 election, and in a bid to make better arrangements than the ones made for the 2013 election.

ECP spokesperson Altaf Ahmed said, “We have not violated the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules.”

He said the contract in question was awarded following the PPRA Rule No 28, adding that the ECP had taken 60 per cent technical as well as 40 per cent financial aspects into account while awarding the contract to avoid embarrassment, which it faced during the 2013 election.

ECP bought ballot boxes in violation of rules: AGP

Under this formula, the second lowest bidder qualified for the award against the lowest one.

In respect of the Auditor General of Pakistan’s report, the spokesperson claimed that the para in question had already been settled. “As the Departmental Accounts Committee meeting on this issue was held later, the AGP report had already been compiled which is why despite being settled the para remained part of the report,” said the spokesperson.

On Saturday, the AGP revealed that the ECP provided undue benefit to a company while purchasing ballot boxes for the 2018 general election and also bought excessive poll material that caused a loss of Rs360 million to the exchequer.

Pointing out irregularities in the financial affairs of the ECP, the country’s top audit body disclosed in a report that the commission awarded the contract for ballot boxes to a company for Rs257.2 million while the lowest bid was of Rs228.3 million. This resulted in a loss of Rs28.9 million to national kitty.

The AGP noted that according to the PPRA rules, the contract should have been awarded to the company making the lowest bid. Therefore, it said, the ECP had violated PPRA rules.

The top audit body also disclosed that the ECP had 115,162 more ballot boxes than were needed. This surplus purchase caused a loss of Rs146.486 million.

“Against a shortfall of 87,077 transparent boxes, the management procured 202,239, which resulted in an excess purchase of 115,162 boxes and a loss of Rs146.486 million,” the report read.

Besides, the commission also bought 146,952 more foldable screened off compartments than were required, resulting in a loss of Rs220.341 million.

Caused a loss of Rs360m by purchasing excessive poll material for 2018 elections

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