Minister orders PS to find 40 ‘missing’ dredgers


OVER 40 dredging machines and several other passenger vehicles procured by the Ministry of Works and Supply in 2014 from four suppliers have not yet been delivered and new Minister Ronald Chitotela has directed his permanent secretary to follow up the matter. According to the Auditor General’s report on the accounts of the republic for the financial year ended 31 December, 2015, the ministry entered into a contract with Herpworth Supplies and Innovative Materials System JV on 17th October, 2014 to supply five dredging machines. The report stated that the supplier was given a delivery period of four to six months, effective 1st June 2015.     Consequently, the ministry paid the supplier US$6,426,000 -leaving a balance of US$1,134,000. The AG’s report, however, points out that a review of records and a physical inspection carried out in the districts revealed that only two dredgers had been delivered while the remaining three had not been delivered as of July 2016. The report also disclosed that the ministry also engaged MCD Civil and Mechanical Engineering on 13th January, 2015 to supply 12 dredging machines at a contract price of US$11,875,800. “These were to be delivered exactly eight months from the date of the 25 percent advance payment within 30 days of signing the contract, 65 percent upon shipment of the goods and 10 percent upon acceptance of goods agreement,” the AG’s report said. The report stated that as of November 2015, the ministry paid the supplier amounts totaling US$9,240,370 – leaving a balance of US$2,635,430 The report says despite the supplier having been paid US$9,240,370, being 78 percent of the contract price, they had not delivered any of the dredging machines as of July 2016. Meanwhile, 27 other dredgers including three passenger vessels were reported not delivered in the report for the year ending 31st December, 2014. And Mr Chitotela, who is now National Housing and Infrastructure Development Minister, said that he had instructed the permanent secretary in the ministry to follow up the matter. He explained that there was need to follow up the matter since the AG’s report was for the year ending 31 December, 2015. “I have given my PS to follow up on the matter because that report was for 2015 and we don’t know whether they have been delivered or not,” said Mr Chitotela.