26 February 2013

Zambia: Auditor-General, 2 Permsecs Differ

AUDITOR-General Anna Chifungula, two permanent secretaries and officers in the Ministry of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications yesterday differed over queries on the construction works of the new international airport at Kasaba Bay.

The contract involves the payment of KR50.3 Million (K50.3 billion) as cited in the 2011 Auditor-General's report.

According to the Auditor-General's report, Ng'andu Consulting Limited had been engaged to construct the international airport but did not do the works despite being paid KR50.3 million (K50.3 billion) for the job which is on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in Northern Province.

But acting director for civil aviation in the ministry Allan Daka backed by his permanent secretaries Muyenga Atanga and Julius Shawa told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chaired by Chipangali MP Vincent Mwale that 70 per cent of the work at the site had been executed.

Mr Daka explained that Ng'andu Consulting Limited were not the contractors but merely managing consultants of the project, while the Rural Roads Unit (RRU) and Global Limited were the contractors.

But in her argument, Ms Chifungula said contrary to the explanation that RRU were the contractors, Ng'andu Construction Limited were actually the ones working on the project and the procurement of all the materials for the project and had even engaged another contractor to do the work.

However, Mr Daka said the RRU had so many projects at that time and withdrew machinery, which prompted the consultant to sub-contract Global Limited to provide equipment for the works.

The ensued differences by the two parties prompted Mr Mwale to direct the Auditor-General to send officers back to the site and countercheck the claims that the works had been done and requested the ministry to make a fresh report regarding the matter.

The initial amount of the project was valued at KR63.4 million and later adjusted upwards to KR71.8 million when the consultant was given leeway to hire equipment and proceeded to do so with RRU at a price of KR20 million.

Although the contractor had been paid the KR50.3 million, it had not paid RRU and Global Limited for the hiring of the plant and equipment, as of December last year.

The report said there was, however, no provision in the contract for liquidated damages for non-performance.

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