Governance cannot survive where merit is killed everyday. Ahmad Jawad
If an audit report of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is to be believed, none of the 12 engineering consultants hired for the under-construction New Islamabad International Airport hold engineering degrees.
Instead, there is a homeopathic doctor, simple graduates or persons with certificates in electrical or civil engineering hired as project management consultants (PMCs). Even the project manager holds a master’s degree in business administration.
According to the audit report prepared by the CAA directorate general audit (works), which was presented before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on May 5, inefficient PMCs were responsible for the Rs19.39 billion cost overrun of the project.
According to the auditors, payments amounting to Rs56.25 billion were made against the estimated cost of Rs36.8 billion.
The auditors noted that “different packages were awarded without due consideration… lack of coordination in execution of package and unsatisfactory performance of PMCs” led to the inefficient and poor execution of the project.
“The consultant prepared cost estimates on lump-sum basis instead of item wise.”
During a meeting of the departmental accounts committee (DAC) held on Feb 29, 2016, it was observed that the “project management consultants failed to perform its contractual role with regard to coordination and execution of work on site.”
The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) also found that the consultants were not qualified enough to perform such a crucial job.
As per an inquire report of the FIA, the heads of the project management consultants, M/s LBG, were not engineers.
The FIA probed the qualifications of the consultants and shared the results with the audit authorities which the latter incorporated in the audit report.
As per the FIA report, the project manager, Bruce A. Thompson, holds a master’s degree in business administration, Basrullah Jan is a material engineer with a simple BA degree and a homeopathic doctor, planning engineer Atif Saeed holds a bachelor of technology degree from Preston University which is not recognised by the Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC).
Deputy project managers Mucheal Henry Pottinger and Houn Dong Bark are also graduates, planning manager Qiangsong Guan holds a BSc degree.
Holding a BSc civil engineering degree, planning engineer Robert Fluhr as per the report is 76-year-old and left the consultancy firm in July 2012.
He was brought back in 2014 but again left the firm. Engineering representative James McClung’s degree is not traceable, the report maintained.
Quoting the FIA’s finding, the audit report said some of the consultants did not possess relevant qualifications which contributed to the poor performance.
The audit recommended to the PAC to “fix responsibility against the persons responsible for the improper planning and inefficient execution of work.”
Since the PAC had already asked the CAA for a detailed presentation on May 5, it did not take up the audit report on Thursday and deferred it till the next meeting when it would examine the audit paras of the CAA.