Communities around the recently rehabilitated Piritu Bridge in Traditional Authority Nsamala in Balaka have disputed the cost of the project estimated at K23 million.
Speaking on Friday when Balaka Civil Society Organisations (CSO) Network members inspected the bridge, a community member, Isaac Chathyoka said the quality and scope of work on the bridge cannot amount to K23 million.
“Something is not adding up. This was a mere rehabilitation where only three out of seven pillars were constructed while the rest are old ones,” he said.
Chathyoka claimed that Balaka District Council is refusing to either name
or bring the contractor on site to explain how the K23 million was used.
Piritu Area Development Committee chairperson Chitsanzi Jeke said people suspect that the Directorate of Public Works at the council knows how the K23
million was used.
However, Balaka District Council director of public works Chifuniro Katengeza dismissed the allegations.
He said: “When we did field appraisal, the assessment showed that the bridge could not be completed with District Development Fund only without the community’s contribution.
“I think there is need to engage independent engineers to assess the bill of quantity versus what is on the ground.”
Balaka Central-East legislator Chifundo Makande (Democratic Progressive Party—DPP) said he visited the bridge after people expressed reservations on the cost and quality of the project and reported to the council.
Rivirivi Ward councillor Michael Sauka said he was not privy to the project’s financial details.
Balaka CSO Network chairperson John Bamusi said the community members have the right to hold duty-bearers accountable for expenditure on public resources