Auditors detect irregularities in Lowari tunnel project

ISLAMABAD: Auditors have detected irregularities in Lowari tunnel project.

According to Director General of Audit Maqbool Gondal, the work related to providing monitoring and geo-technical instrument services was assigned to a firm, Geo Data, which is owned by the son of the consultant of the Lowari Tunnel project.

Mr Gondal told the Public Accounts Committee on Tuesday that there was a conflict of interest as the consultant is supposed to verify bills of the contractor and also grant certification for the completion of certain work. An audit report pointed out that the contractor was allowed to increase in the price of raw material as well as adjust the foreign currency exchange rate.

According to the auditors, contractors could claim either escalation cost or fluctuation in the rate of foreign currency. As per the audit report, the National Highway Authority (NHA) did not receive Rs309 million mobilisation advance from the contractor.

On a question of Shafqat Mehmood, a PAC member, that how long would it take to complete the tunnel project, Mr Gondal said the project was scheduled to be completed in 2017. The 46km two tunnels project was started in September, 2005.

The proposed date of completion of the project is October, 2017. Original cost of the contract was Rs5428 million and the revised cost is Rs9816 million.

Secretary Communication Shahid Ashraf Tarrar told the committee that there was a marginal increase in the amount the National Highways and Motorway Police (NHMP) collected against challans for traffic violations on the Motorways.

On the question of the committee’s members that whether there had been increase in traffic violations on the Motorways, Mr Tarrar said the increase in the amount of fines was not due to increase in traffic violations but because of enhanced capabilities of NHMP to stop traffic violations. According to him, NHMP has acquired night-vision cameras because of which over-speeding can be checked at night as well.

5 Replies to “Auditors detect irregularities in Lowari tunnel project”

  1. I do not understand why some of us always include Army in the discussion and that army should investigate.the matter. What does the Army has to do with this. Audit is a process and there are audit issues in every project it does not necessary means there have been corruption. There were delays in the project because there was no enough funds were allocated for the project during the past regimes. Big projects are difficult to execute and mostly depends on the priority given by the federal government.

  2. There is no embezzlement in Lowari Tunnel Construction works, that is audit observation against irregularities which is common will be happen in very construction activities all over the world, that may not be consider embezzlement, please.
    The Consultant of Lowari Tunnel is belong to Austria Europe very famous firm for tunneling.
    Lowari Tunnel widening work started in October, 2012, during PPP so called Jamhuriate, unfortunately Zardari, Gilan, P. Ashraf diverted the Budget of Lowari from 2008 to 2012 which was 2 billion every year, about 8 billion of Lowari Fund diverted to PPP rulers places.
    In 2008 to 2012 Lowari Tunnel work mostly suspended due to shortage of fund, while in end of 2012 PPP government paid 1.5billion penalty to Korean contractor to re start the work to gain political interest in Chitral.
    When Nawaz came into power in 2013, he asked about Lowari Tunnel, why this is not completed yet, they have been told, its suspended due to shortage of fund, he announce every year more than 2billion, however in Nawaz two year more than 8billion have been spent the work is seen to Chitral Public.
    Now Korean Company has been given date line for completion is end of 2016, major construction works will be ready for public in end of 2016.

  3. Agreed with Mr. Sharif. Embezzlement, misappropriation and corruption have caused lethargy in the completion of the Lawari-Tunnel. Excavation of the 8.5 KM solid rock was done within 5 years, during the Military Rule, while finishing of the Tunnel with some widening is extended through a period of 9 years_ in the’so called blessing periods’ of the democratic governments?

  4. If there is some ills with the project execution, it should be dealt peacefully and there should not be single second delay in completion of the project in the garb of such irregularities.

  5. There are severe irregularities and corruption in the tunnel construction. The army/NAB should investigate and bring the culprits to justice. Also, PM has declared that the tunnel would be innaugurated in Dec 2016, but Mr Gondal is saying it would be completed in 2017. Who is correct?

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