Nepal Airlines violated own criteria while awarding contract for printing its in-flight magazine, report saysCorporation spokesperson expresses ignorance about the matter.
The Public Procurement Monitoring Office, a body responsible for monitoring government procurements, has said that the Nepal Airlines Corporation awarded the contract to print its in-flight magazine Shangri-la going against the criteria set by itself.
In its latest Annual Report 2018-19, the procurement monitoring office said that the contract was awarded to Power Communication Pvt Ltd on July 15 last year, even as the company failed to meet the criteria.
As per the qualifying conditions for eligible bidders mentioned in the tender notice, the participating bidders must have 10 years of experience in the publication of in-flight or similar magazines and must have their own printing press.
But the procurement monitoring office said in the report that Power Communication was chosen even though the company showed the printing press of another company in the bid and the company also had failed to show documents verifying that it had a history of publishing similar magazines regularly for the last 10 years.
Power Communication had won the contract worth Rs12 million for publishing 840,00 copies of in-flight magazines in three years. The Nepal Airlines magazine is published every three months.
“The corporation approved the bid which should have been disqualified,” the report states. “So a request has been sent to the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority for further investigation.”
When asked, Corporation’s Spokesperson Ganesh Bahadur Chanda said he was unaware of the matter.
According to the report, the corporation, on the other hand, had disqualified ABC Creation Active Printing Press Private Limited JV from bidding, arguing it only had the experience of eight years against the required 10 years and it also didn’t have its own printing press.
There were only two bidders for the publishing job. ABC Creation and Active Printing Press had forged a joint venture to participate in the bid, said the report.
After being disqualified, the JV company registered a complaint at the procurement monitoring office on July 17 last year demanding an investigation. The same company had also filed a writ at the Patan High Court on July 25 last year, demanding an interim order against awarding the contract to Power Communication. But the court didn’t issue any interim order.
The procurement monitoring office has also raised a question if the corporation had set difficult criteria to limit the competition with mala fide intent to ensure that a certain party could only bid and bag the contract.
According to the report, the national flag carrier also failed to follow a number of legal provisions while awarding the contract.
As per the public procurement regulation, a government office should use electronic government procurement (e-GP) process for any bid over Rs6 million. But the report says that the bid was accepted in hard copy. The office has also raised a question over the printing cost estimated by the Airlines.
Although Nepal Airlines said it held discussions with various airlines and printing presses for the cost analysis, a team of the procurement monitoring office found no documents related to the cost estimation.
“How the cost for publishing 28,000 magazines in a year was set at Rs4 million is not clear,” the report states.