A contractor has abandoned a Sh. 2.1 billion road project in Uasin Gishu County in what the county development implementation coordination committee, (CDICC) says amounts to total violation of the contract.
The committee noted that the construction company demobilized all its machinery, equipment and staff and abandoned the site in early March 2020 without notice or permission from the Resident Engineer.
The committee expressed concern that the contractor may not be able to deliver the project on time after abandoning site for the last three months.
The contractor, Nanchang Municipal Eng. Development Group and Nanchang Foreign Engineering (K) Ltd-JV was awarded the contract to tarmac the 60 km Soy-Serekea- Kilimani-Turbo junction and Nangili – Ziwa Machine-Ziwa Sirikwa-Kerotet-Maji Mazuri-Moi’s Bridge road at a cost of Sh. 2.181B.
The project that traverses Uasin Gishu and Kakamega counties was launched by Deputy President William Ruto on November 2018 and was expected to take a period of 36 months, ending in November 2021.
Despite being paid Sh. 188m as advance payment, the contractor had done only 10% of the project by the time work was suspended in March. 48% of the contract period has already elapsed. So far the contractor has only done some earthworks and bush clearing without a single kilometer of tarmack being laid.
The committee has now threatened to recommend termination of the contract if the contractor fails to return to site by next week Friday.
Uasin Gishu county Commissioner Abdirisack Jaldesa, who chairs the committee, warned the contractor that if he does not move equipment back to the project site as agreed, they will recommend termination of the contract without further reference to the contractor.
Speaking on Thursday in his boardroom where the contractors were summoned to shed light on why they abandoned the project, Jaldesa stressed that the government would not allow the project to collapse because of a contractor failing to abide by their contractual obligations.
“The project is already way behind schedule and the contractor has not shown any intentions to complete the project on time,” he said.
During the meeting that was also attended by the President’s Delivery Unit, (PDU) Rift Valley regional director Truphosa Awuor, the CC said upgrading of the road to bitumen standard was critical as it would ease transport between the two counties and enable farmers transport their produce to the market conveniently.
A representative of the contractor however defended themselves and blamed the Coronavirus outbreak which forced them to demobilize.
He also explained that they faced financial challenges since they had not received funding from their Chinese government.
“We have since overcome the difficulties and will be mobilizing back to the site by next week Friday. We have also hired a new site agent who can conversantly communicate in English to ease communication.
The contractor risks being charged Sh. 100,000 daily in liquidation damages for up to 5% of the contract value and the contract terminated.
By Kiptanui Cherono