MMC tendering scam: Councillor accountability suggested

THE GOAN NETWORK | JULY 22, 2021, 12:34 AM IST

MARGAO: Pointing out a host of irregularities in the Margao Municipal tendering process, the Anti-Corruption Bureau, Vigilance probing into the Margao Municipal tender scam has recommended that every Municipal Councillor proposing a work in the ward should be made accountable as they go scot free without being questioned since they are elected for a short term.

Concluding a probe into the MMC tender scam upon directions from the Goa Lokayukta, ACB officer, DySP Sucheta Dessai made a host of recommendations, one being that works in private property that do not justify any larger public interest should not be permitted under the garb of undue legal hindrance.

The officer said all the proposals made by the civic body would probably be void, owing to the lapse of time, saying the MMC can honour the tendered works by calling for fresh proposals by following the due procedure after fixing responsibility of every individual in the process.

In her findings, the ACB officer said that intervention by the Goa Lokayukta has prevented the MMC authorities from issuing works orders and avoided embarrassment for the civic body, having violated due procedures, especially in cases where works were to be taken up in private properties.

DySP Dessai apparently made the recommendation for making the councillors accountable after perusal of the proposed files of the various works tendered, revealed that the work in various wards were tendered as per the instructions of the respective ward councillor.

After the inquiry officer stumbled upon the fact that unspecified areas for laying of RCC slabs and randomly quoting requirements of slabs, it was recommended that every councillor proposing works in his ward should specify areas and type of work that requires to be carried out. “The concerned engineer too needs to specify in his report the proper location, extent of work, a proper sketch and measurements pertaining to the extent of work”, she added.

The officer called for putting a system in place for maintaining files ward wise after it became evident that no files of the earlier works were in place.

Given that most of the cases were works tendered in private properties, the Inquiry officer cautioned that the tendering process will be futile if the private property owner/society chairman subsequently refuses to give irrevocable NOC after being informed of the land acquisition by the government.

The officer recommended constituting a centralized team to scrutinize all proposals in respect of the work estimate, earlier works, location, property ownership documents, jurisdiction of municipality or PWD along with a detailed inspection report by the engineer justifying the need of the work.

Saying that every proposed work needs to be specific, the officer pointed out there’s random mention of 100-200 RCC slabs at various places in a particular ward, giving reason to believe that the work is an eye wash.

Commenting on the ACB inquiry report, Shadow Council for Margao said the tender process of the previous council having been proved fraudulent, should be immediately scrapped and all the expenses to the Municipal treasury towards the tendering process and other legal fees be recovered from the responsible individuals.

SCM Convener Savio Coutinho and Adv Seoula Vas said the findings of enquiry acknowledged the fact that the intervention of the Lokayukta prevented the MMC authorities from issuing the work orders and avoided the MMC from embarrassment of violating due procedures, especially in cases where works were to be taken up in private properties.

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