Parliament body tells govt to scrap security press deal with France

Published On: March 14, 2020 07:20 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, March 14: Suspecting irregularities, parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Friday directed the government to scrap the procurement of a security printing press from France under a government to government (G2G) model. 

The  committee’s directive comes two weeks after the resignation of Gokul Baskota as communications and information technology minister. He was caught on  audiotape bargaining for kickbacks from a Swiss company for the security  press contract. 

The PAC has been probing the  procurement issue for over a month. Lawmakers questioned why the cost of the procurement deal had gone up even under a  G2G model, and  the committee has now  asked the government to open the procurement to a global tender.

“The committee  directed the government to scrap the procurement deal with France after finding that there was no fair competition  and  the cost was hiked up in  unusual fashion,” said Rojnath Pandey, secretary at the PAC. 

The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology decided to procure the security press from France in December.  French company INGROUPE had proposed to set up the press at a cost of  Rs 23.16 billion, according to the ministry. 

The committee has also asked the government to call an open global tender if such a press is necessary for the country, reads the decision.

The PAC has  decided to write to the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) to probe the audio tape leak that implicated Baskota in wrongdoing. 

Officials  involved in evaluation of the French company and in approving the procurement cost under  the G2G deal have been summoned by the committee to furnish clarifications.


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