Works to expand Kamuzu International Airport have stopped after the sub-contractor, Terrastone Construction Limited, removed equipment following disagreements.
The Nation has not established the nature of the disagreements between Terrastone and the contractor Marubeni Protechs, but the Ministry of Transport and Public Works has confirmed that there were issues which they believed to have been resolved.
The $31 million (about K23 billion) rehabilitation works funded by the government of Japan started in March this year and the first phase includes construction of a new arrival wing, a new departure wing and a new domestic terminal.
Several sources at KIA corroborated that Terrastone removed its equipment which included graders and mixers on Friday afternoon.
There has been activity on a daily basis since works started but there has been none on Saturday and Sunday.
When The Nation visited the site on Sunday afternoon, there was no equipment and workers, save for one who seemed to be a security guard.
KIA airport commandant Macletcher Bongwe brushed aside the reports, challenging that workers were on site.
He said at the project progress meeting held every Friday, he did not hear reports that Terrastone had stopped works.
“I heard this on Friday and rushed back to the airport but the contractor assured me Terrastone was working. At our meeting in the afternoon, there was no such report,” he said.
The subcontractor does not attend the project progress meeting, according to Bongwe.
Bongwe, however, added: “The contractor told us that Terrastone told them the equipment has gone for servicing so people might have thought it was being removed from the site.”
On their part, Ministry of Transport and Public Works spokesperson James Chakwera said the ministry was informed of issues between the contractor and subcontractor, but as far as they were concerned, these were being amicably resolved.
“The issues were between Terrastone and the contractor but as of Friday, we did not hear of Terrastone leaving. But as government, we only know Marubeni so as far as we are concerned we can only hold responsible Marubeni. We don’t know Terrastone,” he said.
The additional wing are currently under construction. However, the rehabilitation phase will also see the expansion and rehabilitation of the passenger terminal building.
KIA was constructed about 35 years ago and does not have a functioning radar which will be replaced in the second phase to end in 2019.