Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba who came to power promising law and order and good governance is proving corrupt. Fearing he'd lose power over his failure to control the Maoists and manage the emergency, he seems to be trying to stay in power using money. People had barely forgotten the flurry of construction before SAARC, supposedly under the direction of the prime minister's residence, when two new scandals associated with the prime minister have emerged.
Our source tells us that a day before the prime minister promised to end corruption and provide good governance in parliament, his residence was trying to raise Rs 40 million by asking the Department of Roads to change a decision on a tender. The Asian Development Bank-supported Fourth Roads Improvement Project was awarded to a firm that came fourth in the technical evaluation. The firm's fee for the Rs 7 billion project is said to be Rs 450-500 million. Nineteen companies applied for pre-qualification, seven were selected, among them British, American, Japanese and Canadian companies. Japan's Nippon Koei is said to have got the highest points in the technical evaluation. US firm Louis Berger was fourth. Louis Berger's local partner Suraj Vaidya-who also got the SAARC road maintenance contracts-was able to convince the power centres through his other partners in Honey Enterprises, Dinesh Prasad Shrestha and Jitendra Lal Shrestha. The prime minister, uncertain if the emergency would be extended, awarded the contract on payment of Rs 40 million. Our sources tell us the money was paid out of their accounts at the Himalayan Bank and the Standard Chartered Bank.
The director general of the Department of Roads told us he'd heard the technical evaluation for the contract was done in a hotel room. Our source tells us the decision to bump Louis Berger up the list was taken at the Sunset View Hotel.