Pakistan and China's national flags fly in the foreground as soldiers from both countries stand together for a group shot after holding joint military exercises in Jhelum, located in Pakistan's Punjab province November 24, 2011. REUTERS/Faisal Mahmood  (PAKISTAN - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY)
Pakistan and China's national flags fly in the foreground as soldiers from both countries stand together for a group shot after holding joint military exercises in Jhelum, located in Pakistan's Punjab province November 24, 2011. REUTERS/Faisal Mahmood (PAKISTAN - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY)

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Irregularities were conducted in the award of a 2.9 billion dollar contract to a Chinese firm for the construction of a motorway under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) near Multan-Sukkur section, Pakistan’s National Highway Authority (NHA) chief has said.

NHA Chairman Jawwad Rafique Malik confessed on Tuesday that concessions worth roughly 200 million dollars given to the China State Construction Engineering Company (CSCEC) were not part of the original bidding documents Pakistan had floated for the construction of the 392-km long section, The Express Tribune reported.

The confession raises transparency concerns in the multi-billion dollar deal, whose contract has been awarded to the Chinese company on an “alternate bid”, which the company had submitted after quoting its original bid. The chairman’s statement comes before Tuesday’s Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue under the chairmanship of Pakistan Peoples Party Senator Saleem Mandviwalla.

The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) had approved the Multan-Sukkur project at a cost of Rs259 billion but the lowest bid CSCEC gave amounted to Rs 406 billion, said Malik, adding that CSCEC also submitted an “alternate bid” valued at Rs 339 billion. Senator Nauman Wazir Khattak from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf party questioned whether the PPRA Rules of 2004 allowed submission of alternate bids.

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