Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development has queried Lilongwe City Council (LCC) on the construction of roads in the city which have been rated as not up to the standard.
The ministry has said it will commence disciplinary action against the office of the LCC chief executive officer for gross negligence of duty.
In a letter Ref. LG/RD/1/2 dated April 24 2017 from the ministry’s Principal Secretary Kiswell Dakamau to LCC chief executive officer Moza Zeleza after the ministry’s monitoring visits to the City Roads Upgrading Programme in the country’s four cities, including Lilongwe, the ministry singularly pointed out construction works by Plem Construction Company in both 2015/16 and 2016/17 fiscal years.
Reads in part the letter: “Implementation of these two roads by Plem was still in progress after the consulting engineer had withdrawn his services due to non-payment of his fees as Lilongwe City Council failed to renew his contract. The works are not good on these two roads and this has generated a great public outcry.”
The ministry’s spokesperson Muhlabase Mughogho confirmed the ministry wrote LCC complaining that most roads are poorly done, citing the Area 24 via Ngwenya Road.
She said: “There are too many issues in Lilongwe. The ministry wants to have the roads upgraded to asphalt surface as it was planned.”
But LCC spokesperson Tamara Chafunya said at the time of the interview with The Nation on Thursday afternoon, the council was yet to receive the letter.
In the letter, Dakamau said the objective of the monitoring visits was to verify contents of periodic reports from the councils and the situation on the ground.
The letter said the ministry was of the view that on a number of occasions when LCC was requested to provide progress reports on the road upgrading programme, it did not provide correct information.
Observed the ministry: “Specifically for your city, the ministry has been requesting for reports from your office on the progress of the same on a number of occasions, including at the time the ministry learnt that the supervising consultant, Henderson and Partners, had withdrawn his services. In all these instances, you provided assurance that your road projects were performing well.”
In 2015/16 fiscal year, LCC was allocated K1.2 billion to upgrade Senti to Chenicheni Nchiti Road covering three kilometres (km) and the contract was awarded to a company called TAAI Construction, Chilinde Parish to Napham Kawale covering 1.5 km and the contract was awarded to Plem and Area 36 to Falls via Phwetekere covering 2.7 km and the contract was awarded to Mota-Engil.
“These roads were done to bituminous surfacing which is a middle level quality as opposed to asphalt which is high quality. This middle level surface quality is said to have been chosen after the consultant objected to a chip seal surface [very low quality], which was chosen by the councillors so as to do more kilometres at a cheaper cost.
“The ministry is also of the view that your council did not professionally manage the issue of the consulting engineer to the point that he had to withdraw his services when works were still in progress,” reads in part the letter.
The ministry then asked the LCC to ensure that the consulting engineer is reinstated with immediate effect so that the works are professionally supervised and also that all the roads by Plem Construction are reassessed by the consulting engineer. n