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Indian firm gets Afghan telecom contract against procedure

Indian firm gets Afghan telecom contract against procedure

Apr 08, 2019 - 18:34

KABUL (Pajhwok): A contract titled ‘State to State’for provision of mobile Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards andcredit cardshas been awarded to a private Indian company in violation of the bidding process outcome, Pajhwok Afghan News has reliably learnt.

The price on which the contract was offered to the Indian company is nine times higher than the price offered by the company that won the contract through bidding.

A document in the Secretariat of the National Procurement Commission (NPC) showsthe contract was offered for bidding 34 days back on 29/09/2017.

The document showsof the 68 bidders, seven that included Sun Sky Global, Smart Tech, Mega Plus, GiececkeandDeverient, Color Plus, HameedPashton, ZyarmalZoay plus Gulf Star Companies, submitted their offers and appeared in the bidding meeting on 01/01/2018.

“After the evaluation of different prices offered by these companies, the Hameed Pashtun Business Company falling in third category was considered winner by the evaluation delegation after evaluating different aspects of the clients. The price offered by the HameedPushton Company is 23.39 percent lower than the estimated price,” according to the document.

Reasons why HameedPushton Company declared winner

The documents reveal the Zyarmal Logistic Company and Gulf Star did not sign the submitted bidding form, lacked copy of similar contracts, unable to fulfill the asked conditions and criteria and thus their bidding offers were rejected in the primary evaluation.

These companies offered the first lower ratesfor the project. The Sun Sky Global Company, which offered the second low rate, also lacked the required criteria and standards and thus rejected in the initial stage.

The bidding offer of the fourth company was rejected because the price it offered was higher than the Hameed Pashtun Company’s.

Violating bidding result and awarding contract to Color Plus

A letter No. 4138 dated 27/06/2018 shows the NPC on 24/06/2018 wrote: “The contract State to State with Indian company should be processed through NPC on urgent basis due to urgent demand for mobile credit cards.”

The contract carries signatures of President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, Second Vice President Sarwar Danish, Former Finance Minister EklilHakimi, Justice Minister Baseer Anwar, Economy Minister Mustafa Mastour as members of the procurement commission.

HameedPashton, head of the HameedPashton Company,criticized the decision of NPC and said: “We won the contract in the bidding process but that process was revoked and the contract was awarded to Color Plus company, which is a private company.”

According to the documents, the price offered by HameedPashton Company was over 174,644 afghanis compared to Color Plus’s over 1,651,890 afghanis, showing a difference of 1,477,246 afghanis.

Mohammad AjmalAyan, director of Afghan Telecom, said: “The contract has been signed with an Indian company, Color Plus, and this decision came from the National Procurement Authority (NPA).” However, he did not talk further on the regard.

Ahmad RaminAyaz, acting head of strategic relations in the NPA, about the reason behind giving the contract to an expensive company and against the procurement law, said, “We agree the bidding had to be based on the procurement law which was done so, but we decided according to the NPA which is headed by the president.”

In response to a question that state to state deals should be between states while the mentioned contract was signed with a private company, he said, “We did not act against the NPA decision, the contract was state to state, we contacted the Indian Foreign Ministry through our foreign ministry, the contract was signed between foreign ministries of the two countries with the India company and the Indian government guaranteed this company which was then introduced by the Indian Embassy.”

When asked about the higher offer of Color Plus company compared to Hamid Pashtun Company’s offer in the bidding process, he said, “There is a technical issue, the companies with lower offer were selling serial numbers, it means that each scratch card contains five cards of 50 afghanis and they counted them all as one, but the Color Plus company counts one scratch card as one whether it contains five serial numbers or three serial numbers, it is a big difference and is cost effective.”

Based on the law, conditions of the contract should be the same for all bidders who should present their offer according to the contract’s conditions.

The 10thedict of the procurement procedure says, “Procurement is based on the bidding process according to the 10th article of the Procurement Law and otherwise the office is responsible to clearly explain in procurement documents the reasons for choosing a different way which has to be endorsed by the head of the relevant office.”

The 24th edict of the procurement procedure says an office should process its procurement through national processes. International methods for procurement can be used only when three or more bidders are located outside the country and no eligible bidder is found in Afghanistan.

Khan Jan Alokozay, deputy head of Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI), said he had no information about the contract, but added “if the NPA had decided to make the contract state to state, then it is against the National Procurement Commission (NPC) which is headed by the president because the contract is signed with a private Indian company.”

He said the contract had to be put for bidding. About the high offer of Color Plus company, Alokozay said the contract should be awarded to the company that provided quality services with lower prices according to rules.

He said problems usually existed in contracts and bidding and some laws were also violated, something the private sector always complained about.


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