Sheikh Pervaiz Ahmad

CHINIOT

The district administration has awarded contracts to its allegedly blue-eyed companies for purchase of furniture for the government schools here following the issuance of Rs38 million grant, it is learnt.

The companies owned by three brothers with connivance of the district officials are getting the contracts, sources said. The District administration received a grant of Rs18.1 million and Rs20 million for purchase of furniture through school councils. The tender notices were floated in the print media. However, Chiniot Enterprises owned by Tariq Manzoor; Al-Manzoor Enterprises by Safdar Manzoor; and Royal Enterprises by Khalid Akhtar Manzoor were encouraged to apply for these contracts by the officials while the other companies were denied the tender forms by the schools.

Out of 11 elementary schools in Tehsil Chiniot alone, Royal Enterprises won contracts from six schools. In other schools, the same firms are applying and winning the contracts, the sources said. Through corruption, they are causing loss of millions of rupees to the national exchequer by quoting inflated rates, they added.

They alleged that some education officials were supporting the three companies by directing the schools heads to expedite their tenders and issue orders without even examining the samples. Some headmistresses were directed by the DDEO office to come at the office and check and pass the sample on the spot some days ago, they said. However, they added, the samples were not provided by the contractors and the school heads returned back.

According to the rules, the samples are to be provided at the premises of schools or where the tenders are opened so that all the purchase committee members including headmaster, teacher and private SMC members can inspect the same according to the specifications.

As the headmasters and private members had no sufficient technical knowledge to verify the technical and financial bids documents and NTN and Sales Tax registration certificates, these firms have been fleecing the schools through fake documents. According to the NTN certificate of Mr Khalid Akhtar, he is running two firms Al-Manzoor and Royal Traders while the Al-Manzoor is represented by his brother Muhammad Safdar whose NTN certificate is missing. Moreover, the office address of Al-Manzoor and Chinniot Enterprises is the same while that of Royal Enterprises is somewhere in Satellite Town. If a person runs two firms, it cannot submit bidding in two separate entities as per the law.

Muhammad Tahir, Senior Headmaster of Islamia High School and member of the technical committee which supervises the bidding process, confirmed that some fake documents had been found in a school and they have taken the services of a legal expert of tax matters to verify these documents.

EDO Education Syed Touqeer Shah said that the department was expediting the process of bidding to consume grants within the specified time. However, the school councils are empowered to purchase the furniture on their own, he said. He added that the district officer planning had imparted training to the bidding committee members about tenders and verification of documents. If some discrepancies were found in bidding process, the bids will be cancelled, he said. He dispelled the impression that education officials were siding with certain firms.

DEO Secondary Education Mohammad Amin Bhatti said that each successful bidder should provide the samples at the school premises up to the satisfaction of the committee and all schools were directed to follow the procurement rules strictly. Deputy DEO Zahida Azeem said that the headmistresses were summoned to for checking of samples in line with the directives of high ups. However, she admitted, the sample could not be provided by supplier at that time.

Punjab Teachers Union vice president Safdar Kalroo demanded cancellation of all bids and transparency in the bidding process. When contacted, Khalid Akhtar denied the allegations.