PwC caught on wrong foot
again and denied deal
By S. P. S. Pannu in New Delhi
CPWD bars firm from getting e- governance job
IN YET another major embarrassment for leading consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers ( PwC), the Central Public Works Department ( CPWD) has disqualified the company from an egovernance consultancy contract for “ misrepresentation” of facts while bidding for the tender.
The controversy comes at a time when PwC is striving to revive its image after the battering it received in the Rs 7,800- crore Satyam scandal.
PwC had emerged as the frontrunner for the CPWD contract but has now been disqualified as it has been found that the document which it had furnished to meet the CMMi level- 5 appraisal requirement for qualification had expired a year earlier and was not valid any more.
The CMMi level- 5 appraisal represents proof that a company has the highest level of maturity in software development.
Possession of this appraisal certificate was a mandatory requirement for the CPWD contract.
According to sources, the PwC document did not mention the date of expiry of its CMMi level- 5 appraisal certificate and hence misled the CPWD authorities into believing that the company was eligible for the bidding process. The other companies in the race had mentioned the date till which their CMMi appraisal certificate was valid.
CPWD had shortlisted three companies in the pre- qualification round, which included Wipro and VAM Systems, apart from PwC. When the financial bids of the three companies were opened, it was found that PwC had offered the lowest bid.
CPWD was on the verge of issuing the formal approval for the contract when it received a complaint from a rival company that PwC had been disqualified earlier from a contract in Maharashtra as it did not possess a valid CMMi appraisal certificate.
CPWD investigated the matter and on cross- checking with Software Engineering Institute ( SEI) in the US found to their horror that CMMi appraisal to PwC had been issued in 2005. It was valid only for three years and thus, had expired in 2008.
CPWD then sent a show- cause notice to PwC. The company could not come up with a satisfactory answer and hence, was informed in January, 2009 that it had been disqualified.
PWC evaded replying to specific queries raised by CPWD and maintained that the CMMi appraisal was currently on.
However, PWC did not take this lying down and shot back a missive to the CPWD saying the organisation had acted after the tender had been opened.
PWC asserted that the CMMi appraisal was currently on. The company also claimed that since the contract was for “ software consultancy” and not “ software development” the CMMi appraisal was not required.
However, this argument did not cut any ice with CPWD officials, who have curtly informed PwC that the decision to disqualify the company holds good.
Rival firms allege that the renewal of PwC’s CMMi appraisal certificate may have been held up due to the Satyam scandal, which had fallout in the US stock market as well.
However, PwC has denied this.
“ We would like to state on record that the Satyam case has nothing to do with certification. Our application for the CMMi level- 5 certificate renewal is currently under process. Moreover, we would like to emphasise that in the recent past, the company has bagged several contracts of a similar nature,” the company told MAIL TODAY . The controversy has led to a good three to four months delay in launching the CPWD e- governance exercise, which was initially scheduled for November but will now have to wait until February to get under way.
The contract involved the drawing up of a roadmap for egovernance in CPWD. The exercise is aimed at bringing in more efficiency in the organisation.
Labels: identity misrepresentation, Pricewaterhouse Coopers lies, PwC, unethical practices