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Work on Nakamura minaret launched before contract

3 Aug 2021 - 16:01
3 Aug 2021 - 16:01

KABUL (Pajhwok): Documents show the municipality in eastern Nangarhar has started work on the Nakamura’s minaret and green zone three months before the project was announced and given on contract.

The Jalalabad municipality launched work on the project on March 27, 2021, but the contract made on June 8.

The total area of the minaret and the green area are 263 meters which includes lawn, fence and Nakamura’s minaret.

Officials of the municipality say the company was not known then, but it is clearly written on the municipality’s Facebook page that the work would be carried out by the Afghan Niazi company.

Corruption in Nakamura’s minaret, green project:

On March 27, 2021, Jalalabad Municipality announced on its official Facebook page that the work has been launched on the project (Nakamura’s minaret and the green area) near the Behsud bridge in the first police district.

The mayor and other officials can be seen in the pictures during the project lunch ceremony.

Based on the municipality report, the project would be completed within three months, but a fifth month is underway and only 40 percent work on the project has been completed according to the municipality information.

Contract for the 5.5 million afghanis project should have gone to open competition in accordance with the National Procurement law, but the mayor illegally submitted a bid to the governor’s office and after receiving the order of the authority, only three companies were asked for rate and one of them (Afghan Niazai company) was declared the winner of the contract.

The project does not comply with any of principles of bidding under the Procurement Law.

Under the Procurement Law, a restricted bid can be issued if there is a risk of a humanitarian catastrophe due to the project not being implemented or if it’s a very important national project that requires short time.

However, the contract for the project was signed three months after and the contractor cited June 8 for the start of the project— so work should start four days after the contract and completed on December 8.

According to such bidding, the contract should be executed as soon as possible and negligence should be avoided.

After a three-month delay, the mayor approved the contract in violation of the law, while the governor is in charge of signing the contract.

In addition to the fact that the mayor signed the contract in the absence of authority, the contract was approved on the date (June 8, 2021) on which the municipality directorate issued monetary powers to the mayor and the monetary authority reached Jalalabad on June 28, 2021.

It reveals that the mayor kept the contract with himself and did not send it to the governor’s office for legal action.

Prior to the completion of the technical documentation of the project, especially the technical specifications (BoQ) Bill of Quantities, and formally submitted to the contract management, work on the site has begun and the total cost of the contract has been determined.

The total cost is estimated to be several times higher and could be as high as two million afghanis.

In the contract, of which Pajhwok has obtained a copy, it is not clear what are the features of the project worth 5.5 million afghanis, what materials will be used, how long and wide it will be, so it is evident that most fund would be spent on much less work.

Pajhwok has also received a document f rom the municipality directorate of local governance, signed by Dr. Sibghatullah, the deputy mayor of the province on June 6, authorizing the mayors to spend the money and it was signed by the Nangarhar mayor Abasin Baheer and bound on 7th.

But the mayor started execution one month before.

But municipality officials say that in addition to the contract, there are special project design sheets that mention everything about the project.

A letter was sent to the mayor of Jalalabad by Mirwais Malang, director of revenue and account, without any date or number, the letter was also signed by the mayor on June 6 and the project’s work inaugurated in March.

The letter noted that three companies offered prices for the project on a bidding basis.

Price Name of the company
6,500,000afs AfghanScope construction firm
6,955,860afs AkmalAhmadzai construction company
5,861,945afs Afghan Nizai construction company

The letter later suggested that the Afghan Niazi construction company had the lowest price and that a contract should be signed with it.

The letter was issued by Mayor Abasin Baheer on June 6, in accordance with the law and two days later, the contract, a copy of which is received by Pajhwok, was signed by the mayor.

Painting of Daronta Tunnel:

Also, in a 100-page report by source, said about the Daronta Tunnel painting and lighting project that the tunnel was painted with limestone instead of colour and less than 100 lights were installed at a cost of 950,000 afghanis.

A project exceeding five million afghanis is above the mayor’s authority, so they divided the project into several parts and money was withdrawn from bank with the signature of the mayor.

This project should have also gone to open competition, but it was not submitted to the advertisement process and its contract was awarded to a company /contractor of choice without competition.

Municipality’s reaction:

Procurement affairs exceeding 500,000 afghanis should be announced according to the procurement law, but the contract of Jalalabad municipality for more than 5.861 million afghanis has not been announced, with Jalalabad municipality officials calling it the need of the hour.

In a press conference, Jalalabad Mayor Eng. Abasin Baheer called the allegation of corruption as a conspiracy, saying the real culprit was still unknown, but said that a delegation from the Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG) had come to investigate the report and accurate documents had been shared with them.

Regarding the painting of Daronta tunnel, Baheer said the tunnel had been painted, the surrounding area repaired, projector lights had been installed inside for lighting and the power system had been upgraded and it total cost was 313,000 afs and the documents of which are available in the financial department of the municipality.

Meanwhile, deputy mayor Eng. Rahat Gul Ziarmal shared information with Pajhwok.

He argued that on the one hand, there was growing public concern about security in Nangarhar and on the other the agency had not launched any project in seven months.

He said since the budget had not yet been approved, the construction of the Nakamura Tower and Green area began with a bidding order from the governor, who had the authority to do so.

But why did it start three months after the contract? He said: “When you say on what date the project was launched, the project has not been kicked off, only the area has been identified, if the strip was cut, our contractor was not known until then. ”

Although the deputy mayor said the contractor was unknown at the time, a statement posted on the municipality’s Facebook page said the work would be carried out by Afghan Niazi.

Setting a price of 5.5 million afghanis for the project before the contractor is identified allows the company to set the same price; because the prices of the other two companies are 6.5 million afghanis.

Provincial administration comment:

The governor house, however, did not confirm or deny the existence of corruption in municipality contracts, but said that legal action would be taken if any department was found to have violated the law.

Babrek Miakhel, deputy governor, told Pajhwok: “What we have written is legal and in line with the law, we will never do anything illegal and anyone found to have violated the law will be held accountable.”

Pajhwok found the documents in the middle of a 100-page report written by a source on corruption in the Jalalabad municipality.

The report accused Jalalabad mayor Eng. Baheer of misuse of authority, corruption in procurement, misappropriation of budget and legal recruitment of members of his group.

In response, the mayor of Jalalabad wrote a 25-page report and posted a statement on the municipality’s official Facebook page.

The statement emphasized that the municipality of Jalalabad was committed to the principle of transparency and accountability.

Feroz Bashari, a spokesman for the Anti-Corruption Commission, told Pajhwok that anti-corruption documents had been shared with them.

He added that documents and information have also been shared with them by the municipality and their commission would professionally evaluate the documents of both sides and then share the results with the public.

This report has been produced by Pajhwok and financially supported by UNDP and Denmark.

Sa

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