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TCRC barred from testing petrol quality since Nov

TCRC barred from testing petrol quality since Nov

Feb 08, 2020 - 18:53

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The Indian Therapeutics Chemical Research Corporation (TCRC) is yet to be allowed to start testing quality of imported petroleum products since winning the contract in November, Pajhwok Afghan News has learnt.

Documents received by Pajhwok Afghan News show the Indian company TCRC won the contract of testing petroleum products on November 9, 2019 from the Afghanistaninfo-icon National Standard Authority (ANSA).

The ANSA through a formal letter on November 15 asked the TCRC Company to act in line with the contact signed between the two authorities.

It also mentioned in the letter that under special condition, the testing of petroleum products should begin from December 5, 2019.

Subsequently, the ANSA through two different letters on January 26 demanded labortary equipment for testing of petroleum products in Balkh’s Hairatan Port and Fayab’s Aqina Port and these equipment were provided.

According to a handover document, 37 items were given to TCRC company in Aqena Port and 78 items at Hairatan port. It has been asked to repair inactive ANSA equipment and activate all other equipment owned by ANSA.

A table shows most of these equipment need fresh activation while some machines are inactive.

But after five days, the ANSA through a formal letter again demanded the handover of this equipment.

The letter maintains that the Technical Deputy Assistant on order No. 1174, dated 30, January, has directed: “Testing and quality control process for oil and liquefied petroleum gases should be conducted by the technical team of the ANSA as it was carried out in the past to make sure that the procedure moves smoothly.”

It also noted in this letter that based on ANSA leadership meeting, it has been decided that the National Standard Bureau technical team will carry out laboratory procedures and hold a technical meeting to resolve issues with TDRC.

TCRC: We don’t know why they stop us from working.

KaramatullahKaramat, who works in the admin section of TCRC, said after completing the legal process, they won the contract but they were not allowed to test petroleum products.

He said: “We are not allowed to work in the two labs for which we are responsible. We don’t know the reason, but ANSA personnel are responsible for all activities there.”

He added: “Although the government is responsible for repair of machines, but we repaired and activated them as a goodwill gesture but we are not allowed to work or even take a sample for the test,” he said.

KhawajaJavidSediqi, deputy technical assistant at ANSA, said they did not hand over lab activities at Hiratan and Aqina ports to TCRC Company.

About documents of handing over all equipment to the Indian company, he said: “In order to make the company ready for taking responsibility, it was given access to two ports. As they got access to the ports, problems in the ports worsened and all activities were stopped.” 

Contrary statements by officials

JavedSediqi said: “The idea of providing access to the company is misperceived. The company has technical problems and before it takes over responsibility, it should resolve its technical problems.”

Without giving details, he said the list of responsibilities in the project had been composed at the request of the company which needed a review, adding that the ANSA had no role in composition of the list of responsibilities.

He also criticized designing of the project and said the government invested six million dollars while the TCRC Company invested 5.5 million dollars at a time when 72.5 percent of the project would go to the company and the remaining to the government.

The contract has already been inked between heads of ANSA and the TCRC Company and the Secretariat of the National Procurement Commission has approved the project by writing: “This administration is bound to hand over the contract to the wining TCRC Company within four days.”

Under this text, there are signatures s of President Ashraf Ghani, Ministers of Economy, Finance, Justice and Vice President Sarwar Danish.

Document shows that Afghan Company Geo-Chem Middle East, Swis Company SGS Group Management S.A, another Afghan Company National Quality Control Laboratories Ltd and Indian Company TCRC took part in the bidding process.

According to the document the TCRC offered the government 27.5 percent revenue, SGS 25 percent, National 23.5 percent against the testing petroleum products.

Meanwhile, Ramin Ayaz, head of strategic communication for the National Procurement Commission, said that Indian TCRC met the required conditions, through which it was declared winner of the contract.

“The drafting of duties is one of the obligations of the procurement authorities, the implementation of contracts in accordance with the law of procurement is one basic duty the entities themselves, the National Logistics Bureau is a technical and specialized logistics entity, which provides procurement facilities to the project.”

TCRC Employee Karamatullah also termed the reason ANSA Technical Assistant Javed Sediqi provided as unjustifiable.

Kiramat, about preparing the bill of duties, said, “The bill was created before we had participated in the bidding process, we had no role in that, even if we had a role, the government should not have approved it.”

Without giving details, he claimed that mafia was behind taking back the responsibility of quality test of petroleum from TCRC company.

“Despite existing check and control facilities, low quality of fuel is still imported to the country and those involved in the business do not want low quality fuel imports to be stopped.”

He asked President Ashraf Ghani and relevant organs to give TCRC the responsibility of testing the imported fuel.

TCRC has complained to many organs about the issue, but no one cared enough, he said.

“If the situation continues, we will approach international institutions because we are ready for the responsibility based on the contract,” Kiramat added.

The project switches many hands

Based on a letter from Geo-Chem Middle East, the company signed an agreement about fuel testing with ANSA on June 15, 2012.

Javid Seddiqi, ANSA deputy head, said he was unaware about Geo-Chem Middle East work of testing fuel in Afghanistan.

 However, a letter of ANSA referred to the Ministry of Economy on May 3, 2014 says, “Based on the article four of directive No. 45, the Council of Ministers, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and ANSA are tasked to cancel the fuel testing contract with Geo-Chem company, this company should be replaced within three months, and it should continue testing fuel at the country’s borders until new contract is signed.”

The letter did not provide reasons for cancelling the contract with Geo-Chem Middle East.

Around 20 months later another later, on January 16, 2016, ANSA writes to Geo-Chem Middle East, that, “The commission (tax) from the respected company has increased from five percent to 10 percent, enforceable from March 10, 2016.”

It is unclear whether Geo-Chem Middle East was working during the 20 months or not as the contract should have been cancelled based on the first letter.

Najmuddin Sayas, head of Geo-Chem Middle East, said, “Before we took responsibility of testing fuel at borders, an amount of fuel belonging to Ghazanfar Group faced some issues at borders, which angered the Cabinet.”

“The cabinet ordered cancelling of the contract with this company without investigating the cause of the problem, but when we met with them and told them that the problem was there before our responsibility, then they in a letter said that Geo-Chem Middle East can continue its work,” he said.

About the reason of increased tax on the company, Sayas said, “The tax had to be increased based on the contract in which the revenue of the company also increased.”

According to letters obtained by Pajhwok, Geo-Chem Middle East left testing fuel in Islama Qala, Torghandi and Nimroz ports on June 23, 2018 and in Aqina, Hairatan and Farah ports on September 28, 2018.

A copy of decision letter No. 3004 from National Procurement Commission (NPC) released on December 30, 2018 which is signed by Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, second vice-president, Sarwar Danish, and ministries of finance, justice and economy, says, “Based on the law and procedures of Afghanistan Oil and Gas Regulator Authority (AOGRA), controlling and observing the quality of petroleum is responsibility of AOGRA, therefore the project should be transferred from ANSA to AOGRA.”

“The previous contract between ANSA and Geo-Chem Middle East has ended and ANSA is responsible to collect all equipment from the company to AOGRA,” the letter said.

However, documents show that Geo-Chem Middle East’s contract ended in October 2019.

 A decision letter No. 3521 of NPC released on September 30, 2019, said, “The Ministry of Commerce and Industry should build capacity in AOGRA in 18 months, testing of gas and petroleum is currently done by Petroleum and Gas Enterprise as AOGRA is inactive, it is a conflict of interest, therefore the responsibility of testing the quality and quantity of petroleum should be transferred to ANSA, current contract with Geo-Chem Middle East should be cancelled and a new contract should be given to another company which is chosen.”

This letter is signed by the president, Sarwar Danish, ministers of finance, justice, economy and commerce.

President Ashraf Ghani ordered creation of AOGRA in August 2018, but head of the authority. Eng. Jahid Jawhari, says the office does not exist physically.

NajmuddinSayas, head of Geo-Chem Middle East, about their contract being cancelled based on letter No. 3521 of NPC, said that the company took responsibility of three borders on June 25, 2013 and three other borders on September 29, 2013 and it left all borders to the government in 2018.

He said Geo-Chem Middle East had been active for five years based on the contract and it left its responsibility after the period due to some problems.

Sayas said the company’s account was still not clear with the government as it required more time.

He said the company would clear its account and would pay the money to the government it owed.

About claims of poor quality petroleum imported to Afghanistan for years, he said, “Everything Geo-Chem Middle East has done in the past years exist in the database, ANSA was always monitoring the performance of this company.”

He said that Geo-Chem Middle East rejected more than 60 million litters of poor quality fuel from entering the country during its work.

Sayas said his company handed over all equipment it used to the government.



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