The Kerala government has barred audit firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) from all its information technology (IT) projects for two years following “a serious breach of contract obligations”, a reference to its alleged failure to check the credentials of Swapna Suresh, an accused in a gold smuggling case that has caused an uproar in the state.
The state’s IT Department also said PwC’s contract for the Kerala Fibre Optic Network (KFON) won’t be renewed, The News Minute website said, citing a November 24 order.
Kerala State Information Technology Infrastructure Ltd (KSITIL) had also appointed PwC Limited as the PMU in the Space Park Project and executed an agreement with it, the order said. “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 said.
The person referred to in the order is Suresh. She was appointed operations manager of the Space Park on the alleged recommendation of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s former principal secretary M Sivasankar, who was suspended and is facing a probe in the case.
PwC and another IT firm, Vision Technologies, had verified the documents of Suresh that helped her get a job in the Space Park under the Kerala IT Department.
“We have seen the order and are evaluating the options available to us,” a PwC spokesperson told The Economic Times. “As the investigative agencies are seized of the overall matter, it would not be appropriate to comment further on it.”