IESCO allegedly involves in multimillion dollars dubious metering project deal

Aftab Ahmed

Islamabad: The Islamabad Electric Supply Company (IESCO) is allegedly involved in multimillion million dollars dubious deal of metering project.

The case has been landed in Islamabad High Court following a controversy emerged in the wake of knocking out a Swiss firm.

The Islamabad Electric Supply Company (Iesco) has already opened single financial bid for metering infrastructure project setting aside the order of the court.

Iesco is to present its position in a hearing set on October 17 regarding ignoring the top multinational companies to pave way for a single company to qualify in financial bid.The court had restrained Islamabad Electric Supply Company (Iesco) from returning financial bid of Swiss firm relating to metering infrastructure project. IHC had directed Iesco to restrain from returning financial bid until the next date of hearing. “Any steps in the bidding process taken henceforth shall be subject to the final outcome of the petition” the court said.

In the aftermath of the technical disqualification of the Swiss company, IHC on petition filed by Advocate Arsal Hashmi, had passed orders to restrain Iesco from any further action on the bidding process continuation (opening of any financial bids) until further instructions from the Court. However, despite this order, the IESCO opened financial bid of Kaifa that had submitted the financial bid of US$118 million.

The bid was submitted by the Australian subsidiary of world leading Swiss Firm, which was technically disqualified by IESCO/ADB on flims grounds of delayed submission of the Affiliate Company Guarantee (ACG) which was not part of the original tender documents, and was asked to be submitted out of the blue six months after the bids were submitted to Iesco, in clear violation of PPRA Rules and Adb procurement guidelines.

In response to pre-bid queries, IESCO had responded in writing on January 28, 2019  that “Financial credentials of the parent firm will not be considered”. However, it violated this written response by unlawfully adding new ACG modification (which requires parent or affiliate company financial guarantee) six months after submission of bids. This is not only in clear violation of IESCO’s stated position as per pre-bid Q&A, but also in violation of clause 2.46 of ADB procurement guidelines. The smart metering project is jointly financed by the ADB and the Government of Pakistan (through IESCO) equity contribution.

Additionally,  export records of China showed that which declared Kaifa reportedly  substantially responsive without verifying its  worldwide project references, available in the international market. For instance,  IESCO/ADB RFP required per 2.4.3 that the bidder must have references of at least 200,000 smart meter deployment in various different sites.

However, examination of export record and other information available through international websites, clearly indicates, that Kaifa lacks the required references to fulfil the evaluation criteria. Apparently, IESCO & ADB have declared the bidder substantially responsive without adequate verification of the various project references of the company.

The response from IESCO by not acknowledging Swiss Global Leader’s participation in the bidding process is a dubious show on part of IESCO. The entity which participated in this project bidding round is 100% owned and strategically aligned with regional operations to draw best business value to the overall Swiss group but to effectively run project execution by calling relevant expertise across other entities.

Global brands in technologies such as AMI are very handful in global market and by not accepting such a world class brand is a true reflection of biased process followed by IESCO and influenced by ADB Spanish consultants.

By disqualifying one of the global leaders in favour of substandard technology consortium whose references are questionable reflects the intent of country’s utility sector to make this project a failure so the current status quo can last for another decade and vested interest groups can enjoy the benefits associated with current Metering distribution infrastructure, a senior official said.

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