Should Pappu JV build central bank building?The National Reconstruction Authority has sought advice of the Prime Minister’s Office on whether to award the contract of constructing the building of Nepal Rastra Bank to a joint venture involving the controversial Pappu Construction.
The National Reconstruction Authority has sought advice of the Prime Minister’s Office on whether to award the contract of constructing the building of Nepal Rastra Bank to a joint venture involving the controversial Pappu Construction.
The SRBC Pappu JV has quoted the lowest price of Rs 2.06 billion among the 12 bidding firms, thus becoming the favourite to win the contract to build the NRB office building in Baluwatar, Kathmandu, which was severely damaged in the 2015 Gorkha Earthquake.
But given the notoriety of Pappu for delivering inferior works and abandoning projects, the NRA is not sure whether the company should get the project. The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has filed a corruption case at the Special Court against Pappu Construction owners-Hari Narayan Rauniyar and his son Sumit Rauniyar-over substandard build of a bridge over the Babai River in Bardiya. Hari Narayan was a lawmaker at the House of Representatives before being suspended over corruption scandal.
NRA Joint Secretary Rajuman Manandhar said, “We have written to the PMO seeking its opinion on whether to award the contract to SRBC Pappu JV. We could not decide due to the controversy surrounding Pappu.”
“We have been holding discussion with the PMO officials and we expect to receive the PMO decision within this week,” he added. As per the Public Procurement Act, the NRA should award the contract to SRBC Pappu JV as it is the lowest bidder and has passed the technical evaluation. But the reconstruction body is not going to take the risk by awarding the contract to the firm that has Pappu’s involvement.
“We cannot award the contract to the company that is making news for all the wrong reasons and whose owners are embroiled in corruption scandal,” said Manandhar. Meanwhile, the central bank has also been lobbying hard to keep SRBC Pappu JV out. The NRB is concerned whether the firm would complete the work in time amid the possibility of Hari Narayan and his son Sumit getting arrested on corruption charge. There is also the issue of work quality to consider if the firm did win the contract. A couple of weeks earlier, NRB Deputy Governor Chintamani Siwakoti had told the Post that they were urging the government authorities to find ways to deny Pappu the contract.