The parliament’s transportation and communication commission on Wednesday opposed a recent contract signed between the Afghan government and a UAE-based consortium that is supposed to take responsibility of ground handling and security services at some major airports in the country.
On October 29, the Afghan government signed contracts with UAE-based consortium, GAAC/G42, to provide security, advanced technology systems and ground handling services for all international airports in the country.
But the parliament’s transportation and communication commission called the contract illegal, saying it was signed without proper bidding process.
“We have summoned the head of the aviation authority next week to submit his report about this contract,” said Mohammad Akbar Sultanzada, the head of parliament’s transportation and communication commission.
But the Afghan Civil Aviation Authority (ACAA) defended its plan and said that all legal procedures for the contract had been considered.
“They (UAE-based consortium) came here based on the Government to Business or G to B procedure, which is a defined mechanism by the National Procurement Authority. All procedures have been respected and all processes were completed under the policy of the National Procurement Authority,” said Mohammad Qasim Wafaeezada, the head of the civil aviation authority.
What legal experts say?
“Sometimes we seal a contract under the slogan of national interests, but in fact those contracts are in favor of certain groups and elements and they are personal. Such moves create mistrust about the contracts between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and other nations,” said Arash Shahrivar, a legal expert.
Sources said last week that the international airports' operations projects were awarded to the UAE-based consortium without a bidding process. But the National Procurement Commission, which led the process, said that the contracts were signed using procedures required for awarding government projects to international companies.
Sources said the consortium has been awarded the projects $4 million higher than the previous contractors.
The contracts include security service at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul and other international airports in Herat, Balkh, and Kandahar. The company will also provide ground handling services to Hamid Karzai International Airport as well as the Herat and Kandahar airports.
Previously, the National Aviation Services (NAS) and Olive Group were providing ground handling and security services for the country’s airports, including Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, for many years.
The two companies have been given November 5 as a deadline for the end of their contracts, according to Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority.
The Civil Aviation Authority has confirmed that the Investment Facilitation Unit and the National Procurement Authority have been involved in processing the contracts.
But NPA and IFU have insisted on their role in simplifying and advancing the projects and said that the Afghan Civil Aviation Authority was the main entity responsible for identifying and selecting contractor companies.