A latest audit report into construction of houses for health workers and some medical facilities under the Umoyo Housing Project in the Ministry of Health has exposed several anomalies, including poor workmanship, under-performances and abandonment of work before completion.
The audit findings, which are part of the Auditor General’s (AG) report for the financial year ended June 2011 currently under scrutiny by the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC), show that most of the completed houses developed cracks and started leaking shortly after.
“Physical verification of houses under construction disclosed poor workmanship on some sites. Most of the finished houses and pit latrines had developed deep cracks and were leaking.
“Materials used for lockers, windows, doors and wardrobes were of very poor quality. It was learnt that just a month after unofficial occupation of some houses, locks which were fixed on the houses were broken.
“This showed lack of seriousness on the part of the Ministry of Health and the hired consultants as they did not make regular monitoring visits to check the progress and quality of construction works and materials used at the project sites,” reads the report in part.
It also exposes some abandoned work on construction of laboratories in three districts.
“The audit revealed that some contracts for the construction of laboratories at Bwaila [in Lilongwe], Mwanza and Mangochi hospitals were abandoned by some contractors. It was observed that some contracts were awarded to the contractors some time in 2004, but at the time of audit the construction works were not completed.”
It adds that failure by Ministry of Health district supervisors to fully participate in the construction of the houses led to poor workmanship.
“Physical verification exercise revealed under performance in the number of houses, which were constructed and renovated as compared with the Bills of Quantities which the contractors used when bidding for the contracts,” it says
Ministry of Health officials are currently expected to appear before PAC to answer several audit queries, including those on Umoyo Housing Project.