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DABS demands unreal $9.6 for Helmand project contractor

7 Jul 2021 - 18:50
7 Jul 2021 - 18:50

KABUL (Pajhwok): Da Afghanistan Breshna Shirkat (DABS) has demanded $9.6 million to be given to a contracting company against a dam project, but sources say the firm would satisfy with just $2.5 million as it could not provide documents of even one million dollars.

Construction work on a hydroelectric dam in the Greshk district of southern Helmand province was started in 2011.

According to reports, the Asian Development Bank has pledged $38 million for the project the affairs of which were spearheaded by a joint Indo-Chinese company (AHA JV).

In 2020, ADB’s Project Implementation Directorate submitted a proposal based on an objection to the executive office of the company from the contracting company.

A copy of the Proposal obtained by Pajhwok Afghan News shows the project should have been completed in December 2014, but it was delayed due to the company’s “irregularities and security concerns in the area.”

The company has also been fined and the amount of fines has been deducted from the project. According to the source, physical work of the project has been completed by 99.5 percent.

Claim of nearly $10 million:

ADB’s Project Implementation Directorate wrote that the contracting company in a letter had said that the project was delayed not because of the company’s reluctance, but because of DABS’s actions, however, the company demanded to be paid $9.6million.

The proposal said: “The company incurred heavy losses in the areas of security, administration, safety, finance, maintenance, equipment and facilities for consultants during the delay, which has resulted in heavy losses.”

According to the source: “The company has cited hiring a consultant and supervisory company, the approval of technical documents, the issuance of equipment transfer letter, the permission for shipment of equipment from Karachi port, restricting the water canal, paying taxes and other actions as factors behind the project delay.”

The proposal added: “We have prepared the annex report based on available documents of the program department and submitted it for the purpose of obtaining guidance, while the grant has been stopped, it is no longer possible to resolve the issue and if the claim is justified, the financial loss will fall on the Afghan government.”

The DABS executive office has been asked in the proposal to give necessary instructions in this regard.

DABS executive directorate wrote that considering the reasons given, action should be taken in accordance with the law in order to avoid fines due to the delay in fund allocation of the project and delay in the completion of the project.

Officials’ controversial arguments over the company’s claim

Pajhwok has also obtained some text messages from members of DABS’s WhatsApp group on the issue.

According to the text messages, Pasoon Sadozi, a former legal advisor to the power utility, wrote he had reached an agreement with the company on resolving the issue for less than $3 million.

He said: “The company has other problems as well, but documents have been demanded from them, but Dawood Noorzai, chairman of DABS, and Mustafa Aria, the company’s advisor, agreed with the contracting firm on $9.6 million.”

But Mustafa Aria wrote to them that why this issue was being discussed all the time and they no longer had time for it.

Aria asked Sadozi that he had been instructed by Mohammad Dawood Noorzai, the head of DABS, to resolve the issue and send a proposal to the ADB to receive their no objection letter (NoL).

In response to Sadozai’s remarks, Noorzai wrote that decisions had been already made to address the Greshk project, but Noorzai said he would reconsider the decisions on return from vacation.

About the $9.6 million demand, Pasoon Sadozai told Pajhwok: “The contractor told me that the fund is being paid by ADB, so why are you arguing, join us…. I asked the company to disclose the real amount, how much is left, they said we would revoke claim if received 2.5 million dollars.”

He said he could have solved the problem with one million, but Munir Yousafzai, the newly appointed project manager, and Mustafa Aria, Noorzai’s “money man” paid more than $9 million to the contractor.

Sadozai added that the company had submitted a final invoice of up to three million dollars in the project, but claimed more than six million dollars, and t in reality, the company could not submit a one million dollars worth document.

Despite the certain discussions, the DABS has asked the Ministry of Finance to pay $9.6 million.

Hamid Arghandiwal, spokesman for the Ministry of Finance, said that an allocation of $9.6 million for the project had been sent to the ministry last year, but it was rejected because it did not have procurement approval.

Ahmad Ramin Ayaz, a spokesman for the National Procurement Authority (NPA), said the power utility had signed the contract for the project before the establishment of NPA and the agency had no information about it.

Pajhwok shared the issue with ADB media office in Afghanistan, which said the bank was working closely with the Afghan government to ensure projects funded by the bank were transparently executed.

The ADB’s source added that the matter should be discussed with the MoF and DABS.

Pajhwok shared the matter with the media office of DABS about 20 days ago and followed it repeatedly, but received no response.

Pajhwok also shared the issue with Dawood Noorzai through WhatsApp six days ago, but he had not yet commented on it (Wednesday, July 07). Pajhwok also tried to talk to the contractor (AHA JV) about it, but a contact could not be established.

Sa

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