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Finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal has said that the concerned ministry will be asked to provide details about Vitol Asia, a company selected for supplying liquefied natural gas (LNG) worth Tk 6.24 billion (623.63 crore) to the country, reports UNB.

Responding to a question from reporters on why Vitol was chosen although it was blacklisted in different countries for bribing government officials, he said he was unaware of such allegation.

"We don't know if Vitol was blacklisted or not...but the company is not blacklisted in Bangladesh. So, there's no problem to purchase from them," he told reporters while briefing after the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Public Purchase on Wednesday.

He, however, said the concerned ministry will be asked to provide detail information about Vitol in the next cabinet body meeting.

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Recently Bloomberg news service reported that Vitol had to agree to pay more than $160 million to settle allegations that it conspired to pay bribes in Latin America and attempted to manipulate energy markets, in what's the most significant anti-corruption case against a commodity trading house in years.

Vitol Inc plotted to pay bribes in Brazil, Mexico and Ecuador, in some cases as recently as in 2020, and separately also attempted to manipulate benchmarks for fuel oil prices, according to a deferred prosecution agreement filed in federal court in Brooklyn, New York.

Vitol was also blacklisted in Sri Lanka for unfair practice in supplying petroleum fuel.

The company recently submitted a proposal to Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation to construct LPG terminal in Matarbari Deep sea port.

Five proposals approved

Meanwhile, the finance minister presided over the cabinet body meeting which approved a total of five proposals including two from the Energy and Mineral Resources Division of the ministry of power, energy and mineral resources.

As per the proposal of Rupantarita Prakritik Gas Company Limited (RPGCL), a subsidiary of the state-owned Petrobangla, will import 3.360 million British thermal unit (MMBtu) of LNG from Vitol Asia Pte Ltd, Singapore, a subsidiary of the Vitol USA, at a cost Tk 3.1 billion (310.98 crore) under the sixth lot of import.

The same entity will import the same quantity (3.360 million MMBtu) of the LNG from the same company at Tk 3.13 billion (312.65 crore) under the seventh lot of liquefied natural gas import.

Each unit MMBtu of LNG will cost $9.312 under the sixth lot of purchase while the same will cost $9.361 under the seventh lot.

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The bulk import will be made from the global spot market under the Speedy Supply of Power and Energy (Special Provisions) Act 2010.

The finance minister said the price of imported LNG under long-term contracts from different companies and the import from the spot market on a short-term basis will not be the same as the spot market's price varies from time to time.

The Cabinet Committee on Public Purchase also approved three separate proposals of the Public Works Department (PWD) to award contracts for construction of three public high-rise buildings.

As per the proposals, the PWD will award a Tk 1.92 billion (192 crore) contract to Mazid Sons Constructions Ltd to construct three buildings in Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) Headquarters.

The project includes 12-storied bachelor officers' quarter, 10-storied force barrack, and eight-storied DAD mess-cum shed construction.

The PWD will award a Tk 596.3 million (59.63 crore) contract to joint venture of Bangla Builders Ltd, and LJI to construct a 15-story residential building at Sylhet Police Lines area for police members.

A contract of Tk 1.67 billion (167.18 crore) will be awarded to Padma Associates and Engineers by PWD for construction of two 20-storied residential buildings in Azimpur government colony and relevant civil works for the government officers.

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