Irregularities in sports equipment contracts: CWG


New Delhi : The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) Friday found several “deficiencies”, adoption of “questionable” procedures and “fraudulent” payments in the contracts given by the Suresh Kalmadi-led Commonwealth Games Organising Committee (OC) for procurement of sports equipment during the 2010 Games.

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The CAG in its 743-page report stated that global tendering procedures were not met and in some cases purchases were made on the basis of single tender. The CAG found a purchase of a boxing ring with older specifications, half the badminton shuttlecocks past their shelf life even before the event and large numbers of procured equipments lying unused in stores raising doubts on the assessment process for purchasing sports equipment.

The CAG also raised questions on hiring Greg Bowman’s Great Big Events for sports presentation ceremonies.

“One contract was in effect de-activated in September 2010 and rewarded at exorbitant rate to GBE. We also noticed fraudulent payments to GBE for false claims of personnel assignments (when they did not even visit India), which were certified by OC officials,” the report said.

“Audio video equipments for sports presentations were hired at exorbitant rates, through a highly flawed process. Our enquiries have revealed that the quoted prices for purchase of the same equipments was about half the hiring cost,” the report added.

The report added that Bowman was responsible for selecting the sports presentation team and instead hired his own company GBE on nomination basis in 2010 for a period 10 months at the cost of $502,0000.

In July 2010, the OC advertised for supply of sports presentation manager and victory ceremony producers. The two tenders were received from GBE and Fun and Games Limited, which was submitted by Radley Foxon, an employee of GBE. Bowman was aware of this and did not inform the OC of his relation with Foxon and instead told OC to accept the bid of GBE. But both bids were cancelled as they were found to be unsealed.

Seven months into January 2010 contract after receiving 65 percent of the payment, GBE sent a notice to OC to terminate the contract in August. But instead of terminating the contract, the OC initiated an Expression of Interest (EOI) for a new contract and the new bidding process was completed within 16 days and the contract again went to GBE.

The CAG found that in five cases, supply orders worth Rs.3.95 crores were issued even before the approval of the competent authority. In 19 cases, purchases worth Rs.3.17 cores were made on a single tender basis and in 14 such cases the single tenderer was Swatantra Stores, Patiala. The CAG blamed the OC for not re-tendering the contract since only one tenderer was available.

The CAG also found serious lapses in the purchase of athletics equipment. Out of the five International Association of Athletics Federation (IAA) approved companies, three did not submit the usage certificate from the international federation.

The only qualified bid of DIMA Sports was opened in March 2010 after a delay of three months the orders were given in June 2010 at a cost of Rs.2.78 crores. But in July, the company expressed its inability to deliver the the items and the order was given to US based UCS Inc and Sweden’s Nordic Sports AB that resulted in additional expenditure of Rs.0.95 crores.

A total 272 events in 17 disciplines took place during the Oct 3-14 games.