Bhubaneswar, Jan.27 ( Odisha.in ) While the real AIDS victims in Orissa were not getting any relief from either the State or the central Government in any manner, a number of NGOs were busy squandering away crores of rupees in the name of creating awareness for prevention of AIDS, in connivance with Government officials and political bosses which needs serious scrutiny. Those found guilty of fraud , should be taken to task .
The huge amount of money spent on this account is loan from the World Bank, which is to be paid back with interest by the people of our State.
Though the WB’s Detail Implementation Report has highlighted fraud and corruption in implementation of this project, sofar no step has been taken by the Government to bring the persons involved in such ” criminal acts ” into the book.
In its resport, though the DIR has exposed many skeletons in the cupboards of the State Health Department, insction by the Government has shocked the common men as well as the intellecutals. The role of opposition political parties have also raised many eyebrows .
The DIR’s review of the NACP-II have categorically found , ” indicators of corrupt practices in contract awards to NGOs,such as :
1.fictitious NGOs receiving contracts and government officials receiving bribes, as well as a lack of meaningful controls for tracking disbursements to NGOs;
2. deficiencies in the implementation of test kit and blood bank equipment contracts, such as poorly performing test kits and non-functioning equipment;
3. indicators of fraudulent and corrupt practices in the procurement of diagnostic test kits and blood bank equipment — particularly when conducted through decentralized procurement—such as similar bid prices and affiliated
4. that while the Bank observed and initiated action on some issues subsequently identified by the DIR as indicators of fraud and corruption, its observations and actions were not always timely and not classified as possible signs of fraud and corruption.
The DIR found that the NACP II’s selection and oversight of NGOs, which the Bank relied on as the delivery mechanisms for services, lacked meaningful financial controls and transparency, thus creating the potential for corrupt practices.
Under NACP II, USD 72.5 million was allocated to service-oriented activities, such as targeted interventions and workshops, a substantial portion of which were carried out by NGOs.
These funds were typically disbursed in advance by local-level officials in amounts that were less than USD 20,000.
In certain cases, however, these officials failed to track many of these expenditures, putting the distribution and use of these funds at significant risk. The DIR received reports from NGOs that procurement officials demanded and received bribes in exchange for awarding contracts to NGOs.
The DIR found that many NGOs that received project contracts were not qualified to perform HIV/AIDS prevention services, and some did not even exist.
Some NGOs also submitted falsified documentation to support the work they were purportedly doing. The DIR’s findings were corroborated by anonymous complaints to the Bank and news reports.
The DIR’s examination of the implementation of diagnostic test kit and blood bank equipment contracts revealed a number of problems.
Regarding test kits, the DIR found that some of the test kits supplied by particular companies often performed poorly by producing erroneous or invalid results, potentially resulting in the further spread of disease or in the wastage of blood.
While the test-kit distribution requirements were generally adhered to, the DIR discovered that inspection and cold-storage procedures were not consistently followed, and that some test kits were distributed near their expiration dates.
This, along with external factors like substandard facilities, poorly trained staff, and erratic quality assurance practices, could have contributed to the test kit performance problems.
Regarding the implementation of blood bank equipment contracts, the DIR found that a number of contractors failed to properly install equipment at blood banks; delivered faulty or non-functioning equipment; and/or failed to service the equipment as required under their contracts.
The DIR also observed that, in some instances, NACP II procured what appeared to be superfluous equipment.
The DIR’s examination of the NACP II’s ICB procurement of diagnostic test kits and blood bank equipment—which often involved the same firms whose goods exhibited performance problems—revealed a number of indicators of fraudulent and corrupt practices, such as: (a) long delays between the bid opening and contract award dates; (b) unusual patterns in prices submitted by bidders; (c) apparent avoidance of the Bank’s prior-review process by splitting tenders to fall below prior-review thresholds; (d) low bid submission rates; (e) preferential treatment accorded to certain bidders; and (f) unexplained expenses and possible self-dealing by the project PSAs.
“The DIR also reviewed 217 locally procured contracts, valued at INR 118 million (USD 2.6 million), and found that 82 percent by number and 88 percent by value contained one or more indicators of fraudulent and corrupt practices.”
These contracts were primarily for the provision of diagnostic test kits, blood bank equipment, and laboratory supplies.
In addition to many of the indicators detailed above, the local procurement of diagnostic test kits and blood bank equipment exhibited other indicators of fraudulent and corrupt practices, including: (a) similarities in the language and presentation of competing bids; (b) separate bidders with the same phone numbers and addresses; (c) the award of contracts to firms that did not submit bids; and (d) substantial record keeping deficiencies.
In view of the above remarks in the DIR, it is surprising that the State Government took no action against the officials, contractors, suppliers and the NGOs for committing such gross fraud and crimes under the very nose of the ” transparent Government ” .
It is surprising that as the head of the State and the entire Anti-corruption machinery at his command why Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik did not act to put such frauds behind the bars ? Was he kept in darkness by his ” trusted ” officials ?? Who will answer these million dollar questions ???