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Spanish firm approaches FIA, NAB over ‘fraud’ in Green Line project

Spanish firm approaches FIA, NAB over ‘fraud’ in Green Line project

KARACHI: The much-awaited Green Line service seems to be surrounded by a financial controversy even before its launch. A European giant, which has offered its technological support and services for the project, is knocking at the doors of the country’s anti-graft and investigation institutions and has even attempted for success through diplomatic corridors with a complaint that one of the Pakistani contractors of the federal government-funded scheme has fraudulently dented billions of rupees to the national exchequer in its name, badly damaging its repute and professional standing.

The complaint came from the Spain-based GRUPSA, considered as one of the pioneers in automatic equipment around the world, claiming that the company had provided platform screen doors (PSDs) for the Green Line project against over a half million euros. The supply from the European firm was made through a Pakistani contractor of the project more than two years ago, but it learnt that its repute was at stake as the government of Pakistan was being charged more than two and a half million euros for the services in the name of Spanish company.

“M/S MGH [Pakistani contractor] has prepared a false/forged/fabricated document/invoice of M/S GRUPSA and has claimed payment of Euro 2,732,232.76 [more than two million euros] as the total amount of manufacturer invoice from the Karachi Infrastructure Development Company Limited [now called Sindh Infrastructure Development Company Limited] on account of import of Automatic Platform Screen Doors from Spain,” said a recent letter from the Spanish company to the cyber wing of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) after making the same complaint to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the embassy of Pakistan in Madrid.

“The import price received by M/S GRUPSA is 511,957 euros against an issued invoice No. AAAQ17544-11 dated 15-05-2018 but M/S MGH claimed Euros 2,732,232.76 with a forged document dated June 12, 2018 by using digital data of GRUPSA as well as identity information of GRUPSA without authorisation with intent to commit fraud by making alteration as invoice ref. no. AAAQ 3743/2018 and an amount of claimed Euros 2,732,232.76 on the soft copy of the letterhead of GRUPSA for wrongful gain and this very act of M/S MGH Engineering and Control (PVT) Limited caused damages and harm to GRUPSA. Meaning thereby, M/S MGH injured the name of and goodwill of GRUPSA as well as a huge loss to the national exchequer.”

According to documents c the company has been making rounds of the power corridors and pleading its case before the authorities for more than eight months now, but in vain. The desperate move from the European company, which has already received its payment for the services it had provided for the Green Line project and only making efforts to clean its name and protect its credibility, came last month.

The company’s high-ups met the Pakistani officials in the Madrid embassy and also wrote a letter to the trade and investment counsellor, pleading for action against the illegal practice which had not only damaged its repute but also caused financial loss to the Pakistan government and said: “We therefore request your advice and support in protecting our credibility and professional performance before the Pakistani public opinion.”

The details carried by the documents received by the investigation agency and anti-graft institution suggest the government agencies even did not bother to countercheck the huge sum being demanded through a forged and fabricated invoice and took no time to approve the payment of millions of rupees.

The Spanish company’s letter to FIA’s cyber wing requested that the matter be investigated immediately and the culprits be proceed against in accordance with law for this electronic forgery, unauthorised use of identity, electronic fraud, corruption and embezzlement. The public money be recovered as soon as possible, it said.