Aimo reinstates food supplier

National, Normal


CORRECTIONAL Services Minister Tony Aimo has ordered the reinstatement of Whiskey Fresh Ltd as the food rations supplier of Baisu jail in Western Highlands province.
Whiskey Fresh has a supply contract with the Correctional Services, signed last year, to supply Baisu, Bundaira (Kainantu), and Bihute (Goroka) for three years.
Correctional Services Commissioner Richard Sikani decided in July to sideline Whiskey Fresh, and gave the contract to KK and Sons.
Angry tribesmen and Whiskey Fresh owner, Barry Maip, who is from the Baisu area, blocked the road into the prison and prevented supply from going in to protest the cancellation of the contract.
On four occasions, food did not reach the prison.
Last Friday was the fifth, resulting in the hungry prisoners breaking out of the jail on Tuesday in frustration.
Warders managed to round them up and return 487 to the prison compound.
But the prisoners warned the warders that if they go hungry again, they would break out , and this time, not come back, even if they are shot at.
After going without food for three days, Mr Aimo ordered Whiskey Fresh to resume its contract, and a month’s supply reached the prison on Tuesday.
Mr Maip told The National yesterday he was still unsure if this meant the contract was restored.
“We won the contract because our pricing was better than the others. Our mark-up on the food items are much lower. An audit that was recently done actually proves that.”
Mr Maip called for a thorough investigation into why Mr Sikani brought in KK and Sons when Whiskey Fresh had an existing contract.
The supply of rations for Bundaira and Bihute has been taken over by two companies which Mr Sikani appointed.
Lawyers representing Whiskey Fresh are preparing papers to sue the Correctional Services and the State for breach of contract.
Central Supply and Tenders Board chairman Brian Kimmins recently warned Mr Sikani that his move was illegal.
Mr Maip also called for an investigation into why a company was paid K74,000 in July but failed to deliver food supplies to Baisu prison.
He feared his tribesmen would continue to prevent supplies from reaching Baisu prison if this issue was not resolved quickly.
Meanwhile, Baisu CS officers were commended for their courage and bravery in preventing the mass breakout.