ISLAMABAD - The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Wednesday expressed displeasure on Secretary Ministry of Commerce for not holding timely meetings of the Departmental Accounts Committee (DAC) and asked to conclude the ongoing inquiries.

The PAC met here at Parliament House under the chairmanship of MNA Rana Tanveer Hussain and discussed audit objections related to the Ministry of Commerce.

The committee was informed that a meeting of DAC was held just two days ago for which the committee expressed its displeasure.

Chairman PAC asked the Secretary Commerce when you have conducted the DAC after notice issued for the PAC meeting and recommended to hold departmental inquiries in 15 days then what we can discuss here at this forum.

In an audit objection related to National Insurance Company Limited (NICL), the audit officers informed a contract for janitorial services amounting to Rs6.7 million was awarded to the fourth lowest bidder (Marhaba Traders) in July 2017 by declaring first three lowest bidders as technically unfit for the job.

It is pertinent to mention here that the 1st lowest bidder American Commercial Building Management Service had quoted a bid price of Rs5.1 million for the said job.

The auditors said that in response to advertisement in the newspapers for prequalification, 12 firms submitted their bids. Out of which, 09 firms were pre-qualified to participate in the bidding process.

They informed that under Rule 16 (1) of PPRA all necessary documents are checked at pre-qualification stage and once cleared cannot be disqualified and contract shall be given to the lowest bidder but in this case the principal was ignored.

They informed that a total of seven firms submitted their financial bids which were opened but the contract was awarded to 4th lowest bidder instead of the 1st lowest bidder.

However, the secretary commerce explained that all codal formalities have been completed during the tender process regarding disqualification of first 03 lowest bidders and the same record is shared with the audit officials.

He however said that now the audit officer pointed out that another anomaly regarding over writing on bid documents for which a fact-finding committee has been constituted, which will submit its report within next two weeks.

Chairman PAC directed to conclude such inquiries first and then place the audit paras before the committee for discussion in the next meeting.