Deputy Minister of Higher Education issues two-week ultimatum to contractors

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…angered by delay to finish construct TVET institutes

August 30, 2018

By Ibrahim Tarawallie

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Deputy Minister of Technical and Higher Education, Dr. Turad Senesie

Deputy Minister of Technical and Higher Education has registered his disappointment over the ‘willful’ delay by contractors to complete the construction of Technical and Vocational Education Training institutes in Kono, Kambia, Sahn Malen in the Pujehun district and Masingbe in the Tonkolili district.

The Government of Sierra Leone, during the All People’s Congress (APC) regime, secured a loan from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) worth $4,637,101.45 for the construction of technical institutes in the aforementioned areas.

Jalmans Construction and Trading Company, Hamid’s Enterprise, Poontar Trading and Construction Company, Kamandor Construction, Procurement and General Services, Business-in-Engineering Science and Technology, Nasrulia Construction and General Merchandise, MIB Construction and General Services and Panther Construction and General Services were awarded contracts to carry out the construction work.

According to the project documents and specifications, the various contractors were supposed to construct classroom blocks, administrative and laboratory blocks, site development works, workshops for practical, boreholes for water, as well as electricity supply, among others.

In a meeting with consultants and contractors in the ministry’s conference room yesterday, Dr. Turad Senesie noted that the constructions ought to have been completed and buildings handed to the government since December 2017.

But as at this August, construction work on the various sites are yet to be completed fully despite several attempts by the ministry to get those institutions up and running in September.

Dr. Senesie said it appears as if contractors were not ready to cooperate with the ministry in fulfilling the agenda of the current government.

“I see your actions as an act of sabotage and also as a way of depriving Sierra Leoneans of what they have right to. It is unacceptable. We must have these institutions up and running for the good of this country,” he charged.

According to him, the contractors were told during a meeting that by the end of July work should have been completed for equipment and tools to be transferred to those institutes.

However, the contractors highlighted among other issues lack of security at the various sites occasioned by stealing of cables and solar panels as the reason for their failure to complete work on the stipulated time and asked for little time to have it done and handed over.

In response, Dr. Senesie said: “Security preventing completion of work? You were given a project and opted for it. You have to abide by what is inside the documents. You can’t expect the ministry to provide you with security. It is your responsibility to secure the site.”

He thus issued a two-week ultimatum to contractors of the Kambia and Sahn Malen projects to conclude the job or risk being handed over to law enforcement agencies for appropriate actions.

“We need to do recruitment of students and that of staff to run those institutions. It is a loan we have taken on behalf of the people and we have to pay back with interest. We cannot settle down for less. We have to draw the line somewhere in the interest of Sierra Leone.
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Gone are those days when you take up a project and do it at your own pace,” Dr. Senesie said.

For Kono and Masingbe, the Deputy Minister of Higher Education handed the contractors over to the Deputy Director of Investigations at the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Augustine Ngobie, because they have exhausted their patience with them and the people of Sierra Leone need the service.

“We have done everything humanly possible to have those buildings up and running. I am asking the project director to present the documents to the ACC for them to help us have the contractors complete the job or where people should pay, they have to,” he ordered.