Feb 13, 2024 News
Kaieteur News – The Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Monday learned that four years after the construction of a Regional Administration building for Region 10 was initiated; only 12 percent of the work was been completed when the project was terminated in 2021.
This was revealed when PAC members examined the records related to the overpayments of 14 contracts under the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) of Region 10 that was highlighted in the Auditor’s General Report (AG) for 2019. In the AG’s 2019 report, it was stated that,“The Regional Administration is still to recover overpayments totalling $56.274M made on fourteen contracts in 2017 and 2018.”
Among these contracts was the project for the Regional Administration Building which had an overpayment of $39 million and yet to be recovered. At the PAC meeting, the region was represented by Former Regional Executive Officer (REO), Orrin Gordon, and current REO, Dwight John among other technical staff.
PAC member and Opposition Member of Parliament (MP),Ganesh Mahipaul questioned whether the region was able to recover the overpaid sum. In response, the Former REO had said yes.
It was explained that in December 2017, the region awarded a contract valued $256 million to Chungs Global for the construction of the Regional Administration building. The project was given 24 months completion time which should have seen the project being completed in December 2019.
However, the project was delayed and given a temporary cease order in March 2018. The project recommenced in January 2019.
The Former REO went on to explain that when he took up the position of REO, no work was started by March 2018.
“When I got in there, immediately I wrote a letter to the contractor asking what is the status of the admin. building, and the sum of $39 million was received as the mobilization payment. And immediately I got a response from the contractor indicating that they did not receive documents relating to designs, and plans in adequate fashion for them to do the work,” Gordon said.
After learning of this, Gordon mentioned that this was related to the Ministries of Communities and Finance as well as the project team at the time, and a decision was made to contract the services of a consultancy to have designs in place.
The contracted consultancy was SRKN’gineering. The entity produced designs and plans for the new building. The Former REO explained that the consultant informed that the construction would involve the driving of piles.
According to Gordon, “the problem is that when that consultancy started the consultant decided that the work that needed to be done was a piling job instead of basic foundation and so the whole thing switch into piling, so now we had to get piling done and so now constructing the building was pushed because piling was an issue.”
The switch to piling would have prompted the temporary cease work order of the project back in March 2018.
An engineer from the RDC, Gavin Clarke had clarified at the meeting that when they had ordered the temporary cease work order in 2018, a recommencement order was given to the contractor for the project to be restarted. This occurred on January 31, 2019.
Having been given a new commencement date, Clarke said the revised completion date was set for January 18, 2021. Clarke went onto to state that with January 31, 2021 being the revised completion date, the letter of termination was issued to the contractor in April 2021.
He explained that in April 2021, upon examination of the works, only 12 percent of the works were done.
The current REO, Dwight John, in his remarks on Monday said that the contract was terminated due to poor performance and the percentage of works completed at the time.
Kaieteur News understands that after the termination of the contract in 2021, no other contract was awarded to complete the building.
John told the PAC that he made proposals for funds to be set aside to complete the building in the 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024 budgets but the government did not approve the proposals.
It is unclear when this building would be completed.
The need for a new administration building emerged from the lack of space to properly accommodate the staff, all the departments that fall within the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) and the deplorable state of the building.
The current Regional Administration building accommodates approximately 85 staff as well as several RDC departments.
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