March 18, 2019
By Jariatu S. Bangura
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the SECON Construction Company, Parpah Chindeka, has blamed the Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority (EDSA) and Guma Valley Water Company for the snail pace at which the construction of the Atlantic-Juba road was being done.
He said the utility companies have been reluctant to relocate their properties and allow speedy construction of the road.
Speaking in a meeting summoned by the Parliamentary Committee on Works on Friday, March 15th, Chindeka said his company was constructing roads around Sheriff Drive, Metchem and the Freetown Phase II- which includes construction of shorter route from the Atlantic Bridge at Lumley to Juba.
“Much has been done on the Atlantic bridge, Juba road, and Minah Drive, among others. The problem we are having now is with EDSA and GUMA Valley, who are refusing or delaying to relocate their properties on the roads. The Sierra Leone Road Authority has been doing its best to amend the situation. Several meetings have been held with them, but nothing seems to be done. Babadorie road is worse, as no art work could be done if those utilities are not relocated. The ball is now in the cut of the utility drivers, as we are waiting on them,” he said.
He said only $8 million out of the $40.5 million has been received from Road Maintenance Fund for the 33km road project.
Chairman of the Committee on Works, Hon. Bashiru Silikie, said a certain meeting had been held with the Minister of Energy, together with SLRA and Committee members on the relocation of utilities in which the minister promised to address the issue.
He said if the monies for the construction were available; the work should have been monitored throughout the process because they were anticipating a road worthy of the amount spent.
He noted that President Bio had promised to commission those roads in May this year, but that the delay would create some embarrassment for the presidency.
“You all know once the president made a statement, it suddenly becomes a policy. The president promised to commission those roads in May this year and if those roads are still on a slow pace, it will affect his statement. We want a road that worth value for money. Huge sums of monies have been allocated for the construction of those roads hence we must see standard roads,” he said.
He urged officials of SLRA to submit copies of the contract agreement and the Memorandum of Understanding between the Authority and the Construction company, which indicated the roads that were prioritized and re-prioritize and the quantum of money that have been paid to the contract.
He also requested for a comprehensive report of the meeting held with the utility drivers for them to relocate their properties on the said roads.
Minister of Works, Raymond De-Souza George, said the need to increase effort for the commissioning of the roads was very important, thus urging all to come together to speed up the process.