One firm, 2 deals and a Rs 5.8 cr loss
Glaring instances of how the Commonwealth Games Organizing Committee (OC) flouted all norms while signing games contracts has astounded the various investigating agencies probing the scam tainted organization.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), in its ongoing investigation of OC’s account have come across another example of the games organization’s brazen loot of the exchequer. CAG found evidence of how the OC top bosses not only signed contract with the same foreign firm twice at an exorbitant price but also, for some inexplicable reason, allowed the firm’s staffers to draw their salaries for the better part of the ten month contract without even coming to Delhi. This fraudulent payment on the part of the OC resulted in loss of Rs 5.7 crore to the Indian government.
The auditors during their probe found that OC hired Greg Bowman as consultant for handling the sports presentation programme for CWG (the format in which medals are to be presented to winners and how it should be showcased to the spectators and broadcast audiences) in October 2009 at a cost of Rs 80.23 lakh. OC entered into a second contract with a company M/S Great Big Event Private Limited (GBE) for Rs 2.3 crore on January 2010 to assist Bowman.
One of the irregularities that CAG came across was the conflict of interest in the award of contract. Bowman was also the managing and creative director of the firm GBE Private Limited.
CAG found that the OC on September 2010, after working with the firm for seven months, entered into another agreement with it at an exorbitant fee of Rs 3.88 crore without terminating the earlier contract. This was over and above the Rs 1.47 crore that the OC paid to the firm for the seven month period before termination of contract.
Also, as per the agreement GBE was to provide nine personnel to come to for the entire term of the contract (ten months) to assist Bowman. CAG revealed that one member of the firm, Kim Campbell did not come to for seven months but was allowed by OC to draw her salary amounting to Rs 3.42 lakh for this period. Some other staff were also allowed to draw salary despite their absence resulting in fraudulent payment to the tune of Rs 40.7 lakh as salaries.