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Tender Board refutes claims by disbarred lawyer

May 24, 2022 4:35 pm

The Government Tender Board has refuted allegations by disbarred lawyer Haroon Ali Shah that public tenders are not transparent.

Speaking at a Fiji Labour Party campaign rally at Qalitu Primary School in Lautoka last week, Shah made unsubstantiated claims that there is no public tender board and it has become a private matter.

However, Government Tender Board Chair, Ariff Ali says all government purchases above $50, 000 require their advice and approval and are subject to transparent tender processes in line with Procurement Regulations 2010.

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Haroon Ali Shah who was disbarred from practicing law for professional misconduct, made a number of allegations without any concrete proof at an FLP campaign last Wednesday.

“You have a fair opportunity to bid for that contract. But since this government has been in place, it’s all a private deal.”

Shah further claims there is no accountability for the money received by the government.

“No one knows where millions of dollars have gone. You don’t know how only big famous companies are securing the contracts, where are these millions of dollars going which comes as aid?”

Shah has alleged that tender’s a given on whom you know basis and money is deposited in fake bank accounts to avoid taxes.

However, Government Tender Board Chair Ariff Ali says all tenders are lodged electronically and the portal can be verified for acceptance of late tender submissions by an independent party or panel.

The GTB consists of four independent members who are not civil servants.

Ali states they receive no payment for their services on the Board and have no objections to having their accounts and assets scrutinized by an independent third parties.

Ali has further clarified all tenders are first evaluated by a Technical Evaluation Committee from respective Ministries and independent members.

Minutes of each meeting are taken, verified by committee members and signed off by the Chair.

Ali who is also the Governor of the Reserve Bank, while refuting these allegations has called on Shah to present evidence of malpractice, fraud or corruption to the Fiji Police, FICAC and to send the same to him.

He stresses they have zero tolerance for fraud and corruption at all levels.

Other GTB members are Post Fiji Chief Executive Dr Anirudha Bansod, Unit Trust of Fiji Chief Executive, Vilash Chand and Food and Agriculture Representative to Fiji, Joann Young.