The finance minister has rejected an offer of free maintenance of x-ray scanning equipment by the company that supplies the machines to the Egyptian Customs Authority.
The head of the customs authority, Mohamed El-Salhawy, told Daily News Egypt that the Minister of Finance, Momtaz El-Saeed, rejected an offer made by Palamar-Misr, the local agent of American Science and Engineering Inc (AS&E) to provide the customs authority with free maintenance on all inoperative x-ray scanning equipment.
In 1998, the Ministry of Finance accepted an offer from the Ministry of International Cooperation to import industrial x-ray scanners worth $35 million from AS&E.
Three years later, several devices broke down, prompting the Customs Authority to contract Palamar-Misr Maintenance Company to carry out repairs. The latter, however, failed to carry out the maintenance satisfactorily.
Palamar-Misr later offered to maintain the devices free of charge, despite the projected cost of maintenance being EGP 10,000 per device.
“Palmar-Misr was the only agent for AS&E, but the contract is now over and the [finance] minister prevented Palamar-Misr from fixing the devices for free,” said El-Salhawy.
El-Salhawy said that there is a committee of professors from the Faculty of Science and Engineering from the University of Alexandria currently assessing the functionality of the devices and drafting a report to determine that cause of their breakdown.
A physicist in the General Management for Technical and Maintenance in the EGA had called on the cabinet to reject Palamar-Misr’s attempt to persuade the officials to fix the devices for free, since a technical committee has already been assigned by El-Saeed to do the job.
“After finding out the real reasons of behind the devices breaking down, we will determine the costs; we will issue a tender to select a company for device maintenance, which should take place after the arrival of the fourth shipment of scanners,” said El-Salhawy.