Minister's company costs govt millions

SHARE   |   Monday, 21 September 2015   |   By Staff Writer
Minister's company costs govt millions

A company associated with the Minister of Transport and Communication Tshenolo Mabeo has been accused of causing delays to the completion of Molepolole Bus Terminus due to mismanagement, which is accumulating cost overruns in millions of pula drawn from public coffers.

The company-BOA Consultants, was fingered for the delays by Kweneng District Council (KWDC) chairman Jeffery Sibisibi when addressing a full council meeting in Molepolole during the week. "The major attribute that delayed the project delivery is mismanagement by the consultant (BOA). The contractor indicated several delays by the Consultant to provide construction information, delay in determination of the claims and slow issuance of the instruction. The council has on several occassions written to the consultant to remind him of his contractual obligation in an endevavour to meet the 30th September 2015 completion date," he said.

Sources close to the project told The Patriot on Sunday that contrary to Sibisibi's announcement that the contractor has committed to complete the project by September 30 (the next 10 days) it is far behind schedule. Sibisibi had told councillors that the project is ongoing and at 95 per cent stage of completion as at 03 September 2015. He said the outstanding works are mainly finishes which include installation of the louvers at the terminal building and market stalls, clearing of the site by removal of brick debris completion of the paving near the market stalls, road side walkways along the road and completion of the sewer system.

Responding to the chairman's speech councillor for Borakalalo ward Arafat Khan said the bus rank, which is located in his ward, is a major embarrassment for KWDC dogged by postponements since August 2014 to date. He said the main reason why no action is taken against the project consultant (Consulting Engineer) causing delays is because he is a minister in the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) government. He said KWDC has been turned into a laughing stock by the current BDP leadership and is quickly gaining the reputation of capital city of corruption.  "You are misleading this council. The project will not be complete on September 30 as you claim," fumed Khan, further demanding that KWDC explain how they are going to compensate owners of houses damaged during the construction of the bus rank as the contractor-Estate Construction-has absolved themselves from blame saying the matter is for the council to resolve.

Khan has since noticed several questions about the impact of the delays in the Bus terminus project on the informal sector, bus and taxi operators, street vendors and the public in general. He has also raised questions about the award of other contracts by the council and threatened to escalate the issues to the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) if he does not get satisfactory answers tomorrow (Monday). He expressed concern that a tender for the supply of 38 x 10 000Litres Jojo containers for Molepolole College of Education (MCE) teachers houses was awarded to a contractor for P1.3 million. "This council is rotten, we cannot allow such mismanagement by the BDP and their friends to continue. If nothing is done am going to report this matter to DCEC," warned Khan.

In response KWDC Secretary Wadzha Tema said the tender complained of was for supplying, installing and connecting the Jojos to the main water system in the houses. He said they are not aware that some Jojo tanks were not mounted according to tender specifications but promised to investigate and familiarise himself with the situation on the ground.
Meanwhile the ongoing Letlhakeng Infrastructure project is also lagging behind and is currently at 52 per cent against the projected 87 per cent. Already 23 months has elapsed which translates to 77 per cent, thus meaning that the project is 35 per cent behind schedule. "This project is planned for completion on 01 April 2016 and the contractor is continuously advised to fast track progress so as to recover lost time. In the past week the contractor started to provide primer to some of the roads," said Sibisibi.