ISLAMABAD - The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Wednesday wrote to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman calling for an urgent meeting of the body to discuss the National Highways Authority (NHA)’s alleged corruption worth billions of rupees, while awarding contracts for projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The PTI MNA Arif Alvi, who is also member of the PAC, wrote a letter to body’s chairman Syed Khurshid Shah and drew his attention to a media report, which states the auditor general of Pakistan (AGP) has found irregularities worth over Rs400 billion in the award of road projects, including some initiated under the CPEC by the NHA.

 “The auditor general of Pakistan has found irregularities worth hundreds of billions of rupees in the award of various road projects by the NHA, including certain projects initiated under the CPEC,” the letter says.

The letter further said that the report on the NHA’s accounts for the audit year 2016-2017 found 52 cases, involving an amount of around Rs470 billion, where irregular award of contracts, violations of the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules and unauthorised expenditures were observed.

“Particularly alarming is that the auditors  found ‘something fishy’ in the award of a Rs294.352b contract for the Sukkur-Multan section of the motorway, awarded to the China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC). The project, whose cost was estimated by CSCEC at Rs240.158b, was awarded to the same firm at higher rates, as compared to PC-1 rates offered by the same contractor,” it said.

“I am requesting you to call an urgent meeting of the PAC on this specific issue as gross violations leading to massive corruption…actually ‘plunder’ is evident in these transactions,” Dr Alvi said in the letter.