Tender fraud to cause gas price increase again!
A relative of a top political authority is exerting pressure on Litro Gas company’s importation tenders, causing an impending increase in the gas price once again, government sources say. That person prevents the company’s directors and tender board members from following the due procurement procedures in the tenders, forcing them to make special notes. As a result, the company’s administrative affairs too, are on a decline.
Reports say Litro Gas has also lost the opportunity for a profitable importation agreement with Oman Trading International Ltd. The Oman’s state-owned company has sent a letter to the state enterprises minister on 21 March, proposing a long-term supply agreement under which Litro was to receive supplies even on credit. However, the ministry has replied that the company imported gas through tender calling, and that the Oman company too, could apply.
 
In the meantime, Litro called for a supply tender and 13 companies, including Oman Trading Int’l and Shell Int’l Eastern Trading made bids. The former’s price was 48 dollars per one metric ton, while the latter’s was 49 dollars. Certain members of the tender board and the politician’s relative rejected the Oman company’s bid, claiming it had delayed supplies on a previous occasion.
 
A decision was taken to import 50,000 mt of emergency supplies to face a shortage in July and August, and Shell Gas was given the tender. The company’s price was 57 dollars per mt, which was nine dollars higher that its tender bid. Government sources say the low bidder was rejected citing a shortcoming not mentioned in the tender conditions. 
 
Litro directors have questioned this importation, with the sources saying there is suspicion that a financial fraud could have taken place after misleading the Cabinet. This could result in an increase in the price in line with the world market price. Also, an opportunity was lost to control the gas importation without having to pay any agent fees, since the Oman company is a producer of gas.
 
Certain of Litro Gas transactions have taken place without approval by its directors, according to the sources. The country imports around 300,000 mt of gas annually.
 
Kashyapa Kotelawala
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