Supplier attempts to sell rejected wheat
Contract conditions breached with import of low-quality grains
SHAMSUDDIN ILLIUS, Ctg
Media: The Independent
A private supplier, Swiss Singapore Overseas Enterprise Pre Ltd, after breaching tender conditions with the Department of Food (DoF) and importing low-quality wheat from Russia, is now attempting to sell those in the local market. The DoF signed two agreements with Swiss Singapore Overseas Enterprise Pre Ltd after floating an international tender last year for 100,000 metric tonnes (MT) of wheat at USD 291.83 per MT.
In the first consignment (contract signed on November 13, 2018), a total of 50,258 MT of wheat, worth USD 14,596,500 reached the Chattogram port on January 15 this year. The DoF rejected about 7,001 MT of the consignment on January 30, saying the consignment contained “wheat of other classes up to 14.73 per cent instead of the acceptable limit of 4 per cent”. But it received the remaining 43,257 MT from the vessel.
However, insiders claimed that even the received amount was of low quality and mixed with dust. The supplier company is now planning to sell the rejected wheat in the local market. The Independent has come to know that it is supposed to unload the wheat at the Kutubdia point of the outer anchorage of the Chattogram port today (Friday).
MV RHODOS, a Bahamas flag carrier, reached the Kutubdia point of the outer anchorage in Chattogram port with 50,258 MT of wheat from Russia on January 15 this year. A total of 19,059 MT of wheat was unloaded at the outer anchorage by lighter vessels as the draft did not let the ship reach the silo jetty in the Chattogram port. The ship is supposed to leave the port area today (Friday) morning, said the shipping agent, DoF.
A laboratory test by DoF in Chattogram revealed the wheat of Hatch-1 to be of low quality and contrary to the contract specification regarding the wheat of other classes. The DoF said the sample was collected from Hatch-1 out of the five hatches of the vessel.
In a letter, the controller of movement and storage in Chattogram, Abu Nayeem Mohammad Shafiul Alam, informed the food director general on January 25 about the breach of contract by the supplier.
He said the wheat from Hatch-1 had been mixed with upto 14.74 per cent of other classes instead of the acceptable limit of 4 per cent.
The director of DoF, Zulfiquar Rahman, in a letter on January 30, rejected the grains of Hatch-1 and sent a letter to the supplier company in this regard.
Shafiul Alam said they had found the wheat in the other hatches to be of acceptable quality and unloaded the grain in them. But DoF insiders said those gains were also of low quality and mixed with a huge amount of dust.
When trying to contact Ashok Kumar, representative of the supplier in Bangladesh, over the mobile phone, this correspondent learned that he was planning to sell the rejected wheat in the local market.
A conversation with Askho Kumar, on Thursday 1:43pm, revealed that Ashok was planning to unload the wheat for selling in the local market at the Kutubdia point of the outer anchorage of the Chattogram port today (Friday) before the vessel left the Chattogram port
During the four-minute phone conversation, Kumar was heard speaking with an unknown person where he mentioned that the controller of movement and storage in Chattogram, Shafiul Alam, had given him a positive signal to sell the wheat in the local markets.
When contacted and asked why he was planning to sell the rejected wheat in the local market, Ashok Kumar said: “It is difficult to send back 7,001 MT of wheat. We are trying to sell it if we get a customer and the permission.”
Contacted, Shafiul Alam told The Independent: “We will not give them permission to sell the wheat in the local market. They have applied for the no objection certificate. The wheat received was found to be of good quality and as per the contract. So, it was received.”
Contacted, Nazrul Islam, proprietor of Pride Shipping and agent of the vessel, told The Independent: “The wheat is not harmful for human consumption. The government rejected it as it did not conform to the contract specifications.”