PAC to probe wide-body procurement in CIAA style

A file photo


The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the parliament has started investigation on procurement of the two Airbus A330 planes by Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) in the style of Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA).

The PAC is preparing three-columned questionnaire with space for answers, like the CIAA does, and will send them to the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, and the NAC.

Roj Nath Pandey with experience of working at CIAA is the current PAC secretary and he has designed the three-columned questionnaire. The design of the sheets was discussed in the meeting of PAC on Wednesday and it will be sent after some changes, according to Pandey.

The PAC has dragged even the ministry into investigation and prepared three questions for it. “What were the policy decisions taken for procurement of wide-body planes?” the questionnaire asks. The PAC has also asked for copies of decisions and instructions along with the answers.

The PAC has also raised questions about the committee formed by the ministry to probe procurement of planes.

“NAC directors who were involved in procurement process have been included in the probe committee. Director of NAC board Mukti Pandey, Deputy Director of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) Ritesh Raj Panta, Secretary Ashok Sigdel who is also NAC board member, and specialist pilot of CAAN BM Amatya are in the committee. What are the grounds to establish that the probe done by those involved in procurement was fair?” the questionnaire also asks.

The PAC will also seek details about the members of the probe committee and a copy of its report. It will also ask the ministry for its reaction to the white paper issued recently by the NAC and its financial crisis.

The PAC will also send 38 questions to NAC. It has raised question about specifying Airbus A 330 in the tender process. It will direct the NAC to submit the documents referred to prepare the tender specifications, and the specifications accepted from the bidder for procurement.

It will also ask the price quoted by Airbus for the planes deeming that NAC must have been in contact with the manufacturing company after procurement of narrow-body planes directly from the company.

The PAC will also point that Airbus had provided discount to the NAC while procuring the narrow-body planes. “There doesn’t seem to be any proposal for discount while procuring wide-body planes,” the questionnaire asks.

NAC had received discount of 43 percent in procurement of one of the narrow-body planes and 49 percent in the other.

The PAC will also ask for the copy of the Airbus proposal for discount during negotiation for procurement of narrow-body planes. It will also ask questions about business plan and financial crisis of NAC.

PAC Chairman Bharat Kumar Shah said the questions will be sent after the next meeting on Friday.

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