The London-based multinational firm committed a “serious breach of contract obligations,” according to the government.

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan speaks into a mic during a press conference
news Government Monday, November 30, 2020 - 20:34

The Kerala government has barred London-based multinational PwC from participating in projects in the Electronics and Information Technology (IT) Department for a period of two years due to “a serious breach of contract obligations.” In an order released on November 24, the IT Department stated the contract for Kerala Fibre Optic Network (KFON) also won’t be renewed.

“KSITIL had also appointed PwC Limited as the PMU in the Space Park Project and executed an agreement with them. As per the terms of the contract, the entire responsibility to satisfy the credentials and integrity of the resource persons lies upon PwC. However it's seen that PwC didn't perform a comprehensive background check, including educational qualifications in case of appointing an individual as the PMU of Space Park. This is a serious breach of contractual obligations on the part of PwC,” the order reads. 

PwC and another IT firm Vision Technologies were responsible for verifying the documents submitted by Swapna Suresh, a key accused in the Kerala gold smuggling case, to secure a job in the Space Park under the IT department. Swapna, who is currently in jail, and the two firms were booked by the police in July for cheating and forgery over the alleged fake degree certificate submitted by her for the job. They were booked on a complaint by KSITIL.

Swapna allegedly faked a BCom degree certificate from Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar University of  Maharashtra to secure the job.

“In the above contest, the government has decided to bar PwC Limited from participating in projects in the Electronics and Information Technology Department for a period of two years from the date of issuance of this order, owing to the failure on the part of PwC in ensuring due diligence in the deployment of resources. The government has also decided not to extend the contract with PwC Limited as the Project Management Unit (PMU) for KFON project, after the termination of the present term of contract on November 30,” the order further reads.

The government had accorded sanction to the Kerala State IT Infrastructure Limited (KSITIL) to appoint PwC as the Project Management Unit (PMU) for the implementation of the KFON Project. The Managing Director (MD) KSITIL entered into an agreement with PwC on March 1, 2019, with retrospective effect from December 1, 2018 for a term of 24 months. The term of the contract with PwC as PMU will end on November 30, 2020.

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