By EDDIE MOSES
Assessment of the work done reveal shoddy and very poor work worth an estimated K35, 000 of questionable maintenance.
This sad state of affairs has prompted Obura-Wonenara MP, Hon. John Boito, to come out publicly and point the finger squarely at the Department of National Planning and Monitoring for its perceived underhanded and grossly irregular awarding of the K4 million to the dubious contractor.
A visibly angry MP told a media conference on Wednesday that all proper financial and project tender procedures were breached in the awarding of this contract. He said the contractor did not possess Project Management or building background. "They had no capital, equipment or machinery. All this calls into question their competency," he said.
He said before the K4 million payment the company's operating account had a balance of only K51. 83. With the K4 million payment, we have information that, the principal started buying plantations and real estate. This is the same company that was awarded a dubious contract to maintain footpaths in Parliament. They have links to some very senior politicians,' he said.
Boito revealed that his office was aware that the Department of National Planning drew two manual cheques on July 3rd last year for Infrastructure maintenance at Aiyura National High School (K4 million, BSP Chq# 001070) and Tairora High School (K2 million, BSP Chq# 001054).
Both cheques, drawn from the Education Sector Infrastructure Rehabilitation Trust Account (RESI) and payable to the Obura-Wonenara District Treasury Operating Account were never delivered.
Boito said the Department of National Planning withheld the cheques for safekeeping and to date their fate remains a mystery.
He said despite this a further K4 million was raised on November 26th, 2009 and paid out to a John Mauves Investment Ltd for Maintenance of Aiyura National High School infrastructure. "The manner in which the contract was awarded is highly questionable and is of a suspicious nature. Please correct me but this project was never put on public tender. The Central Supply and Tenders Board have no knowledge of the project," Boito said.
The Deputy Governor of the Eastern Highlands said the project documentation was based on an original scope of work prepared by Ramu Engineering Ltd, the preferred local contractor appointed collectively by the Aiyura National High School Board of Governors and School Administration, the Obura-Wonenara District Administration and JDP & BPC.
"The contractor awarded the contract had no idea of the required maintenance work for Aiyura. Only National Planning has the answers to why the whole K4 million was paid up front to John Mauve Investment Ltd," Boito said.
He said normally upfront payment of 10% mobilization costs are paid for contracts. The rest is released stage by stage after satisfactory inspection reports.
Boito said numerous attempts to get answers from the Department of National Planning were unsuccessful. "My letters to the Minister on this matter have not been responded to," he said.
The MP revealed that he would seek legal avenues to ensure that the monies are recovered. On January 2 this year I registered the complaint with the Police Fraud Squad, I will ensure that we get to the bottom of this and stop such fraudulent practices from happening again, he said.
The deputy Parliamentary leader of the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) Party said these projects were in line with the undertakings of the 'Warongoi Accord' whereby Government backbenchers were told to submit project proposals for funding by the Government. PDM is a partner in the Somare/Temu Coalition Government.