LAHORE - Punjab government is clueless about the officer who was allegedly bribed by an American firm to win a software contract worth US $ 9 million in the year 2009, said sources in Punjab government on Tuesday.

It is worth mentioning here that a probe into the allegations on Punjab government was underway with US Department of Justice also. As per probe Americans were looking into the allegations published in American newspaper Wall Street Journal that Executives at Microsoft’s Pakistan operation paid for a December 2009 trip for a Punjab provincial government official and his wife to win three years contract to supply the government with its Microsoft Office Software.

According to the documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, the trip which was allegedly booked by a travel consultant firm on behalf of Microsoft included business class airfare and a stay at a luxurious hotel, the tipster alleged in the documents.

He further said that Microsoft won the partnership worth roughly US $9 million, three months later.

Transparency International Pakistan (TIP) has written a letter to Chief Minister Punjab, Mian Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif stating that since the Punjab Government in 2009 in consultation with TIP had adopted Public Procurement Rules 2004 and Punjab Procurement Rules 2009 were notified on October 2, 2009 and it appears that above mentioned Microsoft office software was procured under these Rules. So in order to examine that whether procurement process was carried out as per rules and the lowest bidder was awarded the contract of the Microsoft office Software project, TIP requested the Chief Minister to direct the authority concerned to provide the necessary information to TIP including Approved PC-1, NAB contract Evaluation form for this contract and completion cost of the project in PC-V, in case project is not completed draft PC form V with the estimated completion cost of the project be provided. The letter further said that above said information should be mailed to TIP as soon as possible.

Chief Minister is further requested to conduct an investigation into the allegations of favouring M/S Microsoft in award of contract, it stated. When this scribe contacted the spokesman of TIP in Pakistan, Adil Gillani and questioned him that if Punjab government has responded to TIP regarding issue, he said a couple of days back he had written a letter.

He said it rarely happens that somebody has responded to the letters of TIP in time. “Since we are neither  a investigative agency nor a law-enforcing agency but we are playing a role of watch dog so we cannot force any institution to respond to our letter, we only point out. “ He said after this TIP will put the matter into the notice of Supreme Court , Chairman NAB and Managing Director, PPRA Punjab for further action.

When this scribe contacted spokesman of the Punjab government, Amjad Bhatti he responded and said that after contacting the quarters concerned he will be in a position to comment on the issue.