Rwanda: Housing Authority On Spot for Stalled Huye Stadium Renovation

11 September 2023

The Huye Stadium facelift is in jeopardy owing to the stalled renovation works, The New Times has learnt. The 10,000-seat facility, more than four times its initial capacity, was expected to be completed in October last year, but all civil works have been stopped despite the progress being at slightly over 70 per cent.

The halt, according to information shared with The New Times, followed a decision by the Ministry of Justice to reject the request for legal opinion for the fifth extension of the mega contract between Rwanda Housing Authority (RHA) and NPD, a renowned local civil engineering company.

Initially estimated at Rwf9.89 billion for renovation works, the contract was subsequently extended four times until February 2023, resulting in a total cost increase of nearly Rwf18 billion.

"This was not legally acceptable given that the actions for extension were carried out after the expiry of the contract," reads part of the document.

What went wrong?

The government, through RHA, started the upgrading works of Huye Stadium in order to meet the CAF/FIFA standards, in large part to be able to host upcoming major tournaments, since Amahoro National Stadium is under construction.

Major events that were slated for the stadium include the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers, the African Nations Championship (CHAN), and the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in November, this year.

However, according to the Auditor General's report for the financial year ended September 30, several irregularities were noted during the audit of the project.

One of the irregularities was that construction works were performed without an independent supervision firm, contravening the idea that any tender of works whose value is above Rwf50 million shall require supervision of works carried out by a registered firm.

"Contrary to the above provision, Rwanda Housing Authority (RHA) extended the contract up to January, 10 (2023) whereas the contract for the supervisor was to end on October, 15 (2022), hence, works were executed three months without a supervising company," the document reads in part.

"Therefore, the construction of works performed without the supervising firm implies that the quality of works was compromised without being noted by the management. Consequently, the realisation of value for money may suffer," the document adds.

The New Times understands that Gasabo 3D, an engineering consultant firm, had been hired as the supervising firm.

"Stalled renovation works and failure to extend the contract affected negatively the completion of works," the Auditor General said.

People living with disabilities left out in renovated stadium

Article 25 of the law 01/2007 of 20/01/2007 relating to the protection of persons living with disabilities in general, stipulates that buildings providing multiple services for residents must be constructed in a manner that enables easy access for disabled individuals to utilise said services.

Contrary to this provision, however, Huye Stadium does not have a special place accessible and designed to accommodate spectators with disabilities.

"In addition, though specific toilets for people with disabilities have been installed, some of them are not accessible."

In a related development, the Auditor General's report noted that over two months after the contract had expired, the renovation works were not yet completed.

They include a non-supplied transformer of 1000kVa, soundproofing, flood lights, and electrification of Kamena Stadium.

Other defects include damaged ceilings at the VVIP entrance, VIP seat covers that have since been damaged, defects in asphalt concrete, and empty powder firefighting bottles among others.

"Going forward, RHA should strengthen its contract management to avoid any poor contract management," the Auditor General said.

What RHA says

According to the RHA management, all civil works at Huye Stadium were expected to be supervised by Gasabo 3D design, but the contract was delayed due to the claims for an additional amount while as per the terms of the initial contract, the payment was to be made per progress.

"Since the client was agreeing on the extension of time, the consultant was requested to keep supervising the works as per the terms of the contract as their claim was still being assessed," RHA management said.

Reacting to the idea that people with disabilities have no designated space, RHA said that the gaps are expected to be addressed in the second phase of the stadium's extension.

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