All involved in abandoned projects should be prosecuted: Sankwasa

21 Sep 2017 19:00pm
RUNDU, 21 SEP (NAMPA) – Deputy Minister of Works and Transport, James Sankwasa has said contractors alone should not be prosecuted for abandoning State projects but also those who certify that such projects have been done.
Sankwasa was responding to questions from Nampa on Thursday following Minister of Health and Social Services Dr Bernhard Haufiku's statement that contractors who abandon State projects should be sued or arrested for squandering State resources.
Haufiku was responding to the Governor of Kavango West Region, Sirkka Ausiku who wanted to know why the Nkurenkuru District Hospital and other health facilities in her region were still not completed.
The minister was asked the question during the handing over of an Anti-Retroviral Treatment Clinic at Nkurenkuru on Tuesday.
Sankwasa said he does not blame the public for having the perception that contractors are appointed by the Ministry of Works.
“The mandate for construction of government infrastructure lies with the Ministry of Works and Transport, but in the last 10 to 15 years, ministries have taken over this function,” he said.
He said because such contractors are appointed by the respective ministries, it becomes difficult for his ministry to get involved when things go wrong.
“Let us prosecute the people who said the job was done when they knew the job was not well done, such as supervising consultants, and not just the contractor.
“Let us prosecute the people who certified the invoices and the person who awarded the tender to a person who has no capacity,” Sankwasa said.
He explained that when a contractor is appointed, there is a supervising consultant who certifies the invoice of the contractor. This, he said, is the person who agrees or disagrees with whether the contractor has done the job according to specifications and thus certifies the invoice for payment or not.
Thereafter, the official in the region where the project is should also certify whether he or she is happy with the decision taken by the supervising consultant.
Thus if people have to be held accountable, it should include everybody in the process, Sankwasa said.
On his part, Haufiku said the reason for incomplete projects was twofold – one being that the Ministry of Health does not have money and the other that funds have been squandered.
He said the ministry was in the process of building a maternity ward at Rundu and it was abandoned halfway.
“We were building a clinic at Sesfontein in the Kunene Region and a Tuberculosis ward at Keetmanshoop. All these projects were abandoned,” he stressed.
A hospital was also being built at Okahao where N.dollars 15 million was paid to a contractor who also just left.
Haufiku said he has kept on asking when he is going to hear about this person in court for squandering State resources.
“Of course the ministry does not have the power to arrest, but I would have done it 10 times already,” he said.
He then said these projects do not fall under his ministry, but under the Ministry of Works and Transport, which is responsible for the direct supervision of all government infrastructure.
“Apparently, they are the ones that have to sue these guys. I really want to see it happening or else this will continue to happen,” Haufiku said.