Report and picture by ELIAS LARI
THE reconstruction of burnt down Western Highlands provincial headquarter, Kapal Haus, is facing another twist as an unknown construction company has moved in to carry out demolition work.
A Lae-based company, unknown to the Western Highlands provincial administration, has started work on the site since last week without any form of contract documentation in place, according to the office of the provincial administrator Malcolm Culligan.
Police investigations into the burning down of the building had not been completed and the site still remains a crime scene, however, the contractor had forcefully removed the remains last week.
Mr Culligan has written to provincial police commander to have the contractor removed from the site and police have duly instructed the contractor, but is still continuing.
Mr Culligan said he was not aware of any contract awarded for this work.
The Western Highlands Development Authority (WHDA), the body tasked to manage and award contracts, was not aware of this contractor and its engagement.
WHDA executive chairman Alphonse Niggins said he had written to the contractor on site to move out but the contractor, believed to be engaged by three officers (named) from within the office of the governor, had refused to do so.
The project management company, contracted by the Western Highlands provincial government to carry out project documentation and architectural design on the building, have also raised serious concerns on the “hijacking” of the project.
Upper Ramu Engineering Consultants and Project Mnager (UREC&PM) Ltd have almost completed the design and documentation of the new Western Highlands provincial headquarters and had just submitted the scope of work and costing on the demolition when the unknown contractor intervened, UREC&PM senior partner Linston Tinemau said.
He said demolition of the structural remains on the building would be put on tender by the WHDA through the provincial supply and tenders board before a contractor could be awarded the contract.
“This unknown contractor had not only committed a crime by disturbing a crime scene but also bypassed
lawful authority and instructions,” Mr Tinemau.
He said a contractor that won the contract would only enter the site after getting police clearance on the site as it was still a crime scene.
Mr Tinemau, a civil engineer by profession, also warned of the safety of workers on the site.