K5mil probe into bridge

National, Normal

The National, Wednesday 27th March, 2013

AN investigation will be carried out into a K5 million payment for a non-existent bridge at Nawaeb electorate in Morobe, Minister for Works Francis Awesa confirmed in parliament yesterday.
Awesa agreed with concerns raised by Nawaeb MP Gisuwat Siniwim that two separate payments amounting to K5 million was done in 2008 to a contractor but the bridge was not constructed.
“This is a serious allegation because there is no bridge for the K5 million that was paid and the investigation will be referred to Task Force Wweep,” Awesa said.
“This is a serious problem, that money is paid with no work done and it is more serious because the department of finance did the payment without consulting works department,” Awesa said.
Responding to Siniwim’s claims of storage of bridge parts collecting dust at the works yard in Lae, Awesa said a separate investigation would be conducted to verify the ownership.
“Currently, the department is doing an audit of bridges and the parts that are in the works yard in Lae,” he said.
“At this time we do not know who the bridge parts belong to because the programme expired six years ago and, to date, no one has ever bothered to check how much we own or paid for and how much is owned by the company and we cannot get further verification because company owners left six months ago.”
Awesa said the Nawaeb electorate had a rugged landscape with many fast-flowing rivers and required 26 bridges so that people could have access to goods and services.
“I sympathise with the people and I assure you that I will try my best to address the issue.
“I am looking at the proposed bridging programme after the company ceased operations six years ago with nothing to show and will make a submission to cabinet,” he said.