From Straits Times:

Oversights include failure to seek bids for contract and letting six chalets go to waste.

A $26 MILLION decision by the National Heritage Board (NHB) has been called into question by a parliamentary committee.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has rejected the board’s reasons for giving a $26 million contract to an existing contractor instead of putting it out for open competition.

This was among 11 lapses at ministries and statutory boards that were probed by the PAC after they were spotted by the Auditor-General, Mr Lim Soo Ping.

Another was at the Ministry of Defence (Mindef), which gave a contract to a sub-contractor that had been blacklisted by the public sector.

The PAC described these oversights in its latest annual report released yesterday.

It said the NHB’s $26 million contract was for the construction of exhibition galleries at the National Museum. Two years earlier, it had given a $7.75 million contract to a company to design the galleries.

The board explained that it had given this designing company the additional $26 million worth of contract work to avoid any delay.

Calling for tenders would have delayed by eight months the December 2006 opening of the redeveloped National Museum, it said.

Also, the designer’s price for the additional works was within the board’s budget and very few contractors could do such specialised and complex construction, it told the PAC.

Do you know of other instances of wasteful spending by the stat boards? Write in to us at [email protected].

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