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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Give info on payments to brokers: CVC to government work bidders

NEW DELHI: Firms eyeing multi-crore government contracts will have to provide details of payments made by them to brokers or any intermediary besides disclose their association with foreign companies, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has said.

In a fresh set of rules, the probity watchdog made it compulsory for foreign companies to disclose details of their associates in the country and for the Indian bidders to give information on their foreign principals or associates.

The move assumes significance as probe agencies like CBI are looking into allegations of corruption by some national and international firms in executive contracts given to them by central government departments.

The Commission has revised Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for 'Integrity Pact', which needs to be signed compulsorily by the prospective vendors/bidders and the buyer, committing the persons or officials of both sides not to resort to any corrupt practices in any aspect or stage of the contract.

The essential ingredients of the pact include promise on the part of the principal neither to seek or accept nor to offer any benefit to employees while executing a contract.

"Bidders not to enter into any undisclosed agreement or understanding with other bidders with respect to prices, specifications, certifications, subsidiary contracts, etc.

"Foreign bidders to disclose the name and address of agents and representatives in India and Indian bidders to disclose their foreign principals or associates. Bidders to disclose the payments to be made by them to agents/brokers or any other intermediary. Bidders to disclose any transgressions with any other company that may impinge on the anti-corruption principle," the CVC said in a recent directive.

All ministries and central government departments need to decide on and lay down the nature of procurement or contracts and the threshold value above which the integrity pact would be used.

The CVC had in 2015 advised all public sector banks, insurance companies and financial institutions to adopt and implement integrity pact in view of the increasing procurement activities by them.

The integrity pact mandates appointment of Independent External Monitors (IEMs), who should examine the integrity process in a tender.

"The choice of IEM should be restricted to officials form the government and public sector undertakings who have retired from positions of the level of Additional Secretary to the government of India and above or equivalent pay scale, and for public sector undertakings, board level officers in schedule A companies, public sector banks, insurance companies and financial institutions.

"Officers of the armed forces who have retired from the rank equivalent of Lt General and above may also be considered for appointment," the Commission said in the order issued to secretaries of all government departments, and also to Chairmen and Managing Directors of public sector banks and other organisations.

The CVC would invite applications from willing persons and maintain a panel of persons eligible to be appointed as IEM. The remuneration to these monitors should not exceed Rs 20,000 per sitting, it said.

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