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Probe team reports discrepancies worth over $100m in MoD fuel contracts

By Farhad Naibkhel-KABUL:  A presidentially-assigned probe team to investigate into the alleged discrepancies in the fuel contracts of the Ministry of Defense (MoD) has submitted its report to the President Office on Wednesday. Talking to journalists in a press conference on Thursday, Hamidullah Farooqi, head of the probe team said there were discrepancies in the contracts that amounted to over US$100 million whereas the contracts were signed for signed for one billion.

The fraud allegations surfaced when a bidder that couldn’t qualify for the contract alleged there were differences of millions of dollars in the fuel contracts and soon after that President Ashraf Ghani appointed a probe team to investigation into the allegations.

Hamidullah Faroqi said that according to our assessment in the past 50 days we found a difference of at least over $100 million in the fuel contract. “There was a marked difference in the price of quotation and the prices listed on receipts of the MoD, ISAF, and Ministry of Interior.

He said that the contract has been terminated and a loss of $100m has been prevented.

He stated that the related department of MoD, Afghanistan Reconstruction and Development Services (ARDS), Contractor companies were involved in setting of this price. Procurement commission officials neglect also can be behind the setting of the price.

The concerned organs and individuals have been identified and must be questioned, he added.

The delegation finding also showed that in advance 17 companies wanted to participate in open bidding process, where in first phase only six companies were considered eligible, whereas later on two companies failed to participate and only four companies found way to compete. In the final phase two companies omitted from the list and only two companies including Ghazanfar Fuel and Gas Company and Joint Venture Company comprised of Northern Province, Abdul Wasey Faqiri and General Logistic Group were shortlisted by the relevant departments.

He siad that after being shortlisted the two companies the contract was divided into two parts for contracting with the companies.

Also price-fixing was noticeable in the contract during the offers of the companies, he noted.

The probe team also after investigating the case had submitted its recommendations to the government. They recommendations are: Those involved in the scam should immediately be suspended, an open bidding should be announced once again, the cases of those involved should be prosecuted, and national procurement departments should be strengthened and revamped. The probe team also sought that the case should remain open for further investigations as the allegations leveled by rival companies that couldn’t qualify for the contract could be investigated extensively and could be known whether the companies who qualified had paid any bribe.

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