Accountability watchdog launches probe into 3G consultant selection

13 Dec 2012

Pakistan’s National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has begun an investigation into the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority’s (PTA’s) hiring of consultants for the planned and long-delayed sale of 3G licences, reports local paper The News. The NAB’s probe was launched after two members of the PTA, the financial and technical representatives, refused to participate in the process on the basis that the selection of consultants was not transparent and did not follow correct procedures. According to the PTA’s Member Technical Khawar Siddique Khokhar Khokhar, the consultants were hired without the approval of the Pakistan Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA), flying in the face of regulations and casting suspicion on the selection’s credibility.

Khokhar also complained that Pakistan’s PM and the chairman of the PTA had put pressure on the pair to immediately approve the Information Memorandum – the official plans for the 3G auction drawn up with the assistance of the consultants. Khokhar and Member Finance Nasrul Karim Ghaznavi reportedly refused on the basis that the process was not transparent and that they had not been given enough time to fully evaluate the memorandum. Khokhar’s complaint has also been passed to the Supreme Court whilst the NAB investigates the matter.