KATHMANDU: Omni Business Group has moved to the court to demand compensation from the government, removal from the procurement blacklist and continuity of contract to procure medical goods to fight coronavirus .
Dismissing accusations of irregularities in the procurement of medical goods and supplies to combat COVID-19, Omni Group has sought compensation for the financial losses it has faced due to the government’s decision to terminate the contract with Omni.
Omni Group filed a writ petition at the Supreme Court on Tuesday demanding the compensation from the government. The apex court, however, did not issue an interim order against the government as demanded by the petitioner.
In its writ petition, Omni Group had demanded a continuity of the procurement contract that the government has already terminated over irregularities accusations. However, Omni Group could not secure the interim order that would have paved the way for the firm to procure and supply medical goods and equipment to the government.
The single bench led by judge Hari Krishna Karki has ordered the government to respond why the contract with Omni was terminated, basis behind blacklisting the firm and reason why not to continue the procurement contract.
The Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers (OPMCM), Ministry of Health and Population, Department of Health Services and COVID-19 Crisis Management Center (CCMC) have been made defendants in the case. They have 15 days to be present in the apex court with their responses.
Amir Lamichhane, on behalf of Omni Group, has sought an interim order of the apex court to stay the government decision to blacklist the firm for future government procurements.
Claiming that the government’s decision to seize the bank guarantee was illegal, Omni Group has also demanded a stay order against the move to recover money from the bank guarantee.
Similarly, Omni Group has also sought compensation citing that the government unilaterally decided to terminate the contract signed with it has caused it financial losses. After scrapping the contract with Omni Group on April 1, the Department of Health Services had decided to seize the bank guarantee worth Rs 50 million that the firm provided while winning the contract worth Rs 1.24 billion.
The department decided to terminate the contract with Omni Group alleging the firm of winning the contract by quoting higher prices than other bidders. The group had won the contract to procure and supply protective gear, reagents and other medical equipment required to fight COVID-19.
After the termination of the contract, the Public Procurement Monitoring Office, an agency under the OPMCM, blacklisted Omni Group, disqualifying the firm from bagging future government contracts.