Two contractors undertaking government projects in Kisii County risk losing their deals over alleged perpetual noncompliance leading to stagnation of construction works.
While the County Development Implementation and Coordination Committee (CDICC) has sought the indulgence of the formerRegional DICC to unlock the stalemate bedeviling construction of Suneka Airstrip by Vinbel International Limited, Kenya Urban Roads Authority has on the other hand issued a notice on its intention to terminate the contract for construction of Kisii bypass by Silcon Corporation limited.
The two projects among others led to a visit by RDICC under the Chairmanship of Regional Commissioner (RC), James Kianda who was accompanied by Presidential Senior Delivery Director, Truphosa Awuor and the Regional Deputy Police Commander, Peter Njeru among others to help inform the next course of action.
The two committees expressed dissatisfaction at the slow pace towards completion of the phase one of the airstrip, a factor that has hindered take off of phase two, and led to dissatisfaction among the residents.
The new development could lead to cancellation of the contract for phase 1, which was awarded for Sh53m with commencement date being 14th December, 2015 but contractor Vincent Amenya Marube has continued to request for extension of project time with the current being 18th of October.
The RC urged the contractor to hasten completion of the phase to allow for second and last phase of construction works.
Prior to the tour, the move to escalate the matter to the RDICC was instigated by various challenges to the CDICC’s coordination role including reluctance by Kenya Airports Authority Engineering Department to honor invitations, its failure to send a representative on site until completion of phase one as agreed, and failure to produce payment schedules for the committee to understand whether there were challenges in payments.
The committee chaired by former County Commissioner (CC), Godfrey Kigochi had appealed to RDICC to summon the Contractor, General Manager Kisumu International Airport and KAA General Manager Department of Projects to resolve issues of payment for works and program of works that could lead to completion of phase one.
The CDICC whose secretary is the PDU Director, Melchizedek Onguso had also recommended that KAA headquarters lets the regional office supervise the works and in turn report directly to RDICC.
The committee had read possible disconnect between the KAA headquarters and the Kisumu branch as it was sidelined in the matter in which Sh24million had already been paid to the contractor on reimbursement terms.
The General Manager Kisumu International Airport, Selina Gor had reported to CDICC in a previous meeting that she was not aware of the payments schedule even after the contractor reported that he was in constant communication with the national KAA bosses.
CDICC therefore saw urgent need for action after the stalled project took a political dimension, with local leaders leading residents in castigating the government saying it was denying the area of much needed economic progress.
According to a report by KAA concerning the airstrip dated 11th June this year, the upgrade of the airstrip is in two phases to be able to accommodate commercial flights.
Phase one involves construction of a passage terminal lounge, gate house, fencing and car park, while phase two requires extension of the existing runway from 1.0km to a minimum of at least 1.2km, widening of the runway width and rehabilitation of the apron and taxiway pavements.
The second phase of the works was awarded to AlroLogistiques Compay limited at Sh134, 000, 946.60 but the works were to start after phase one is done.
Marube however, cited various challenges including delayed payment by KAA, failure to find tiles and paint that were approved during initial commencement of the project and which were out of the market, and the long duration taken by KAA to approve different ones.
He appealed to be given until 18th of October to complete the remaining works, including installation of a hand wash, tiling, electrical works, carpeting and repairs on the vandalized fence.
The Suneka Airstrip Project Manager, Eng. Julius Wagai read malice in the persistent vandalism, saying the contractor had sealed the fence four times.
The RC urged Wagai who is also KAA Civil Engineer Airstrips to deal with any challenges on his side that were hindering the contractor from honoring his commitment so that phase two construction of the airstrip can commence.
On the Kisii bypass, KURA in its letter dated 13th September, this year and signed by Director General, Silus Kinoti accused the contractor of failing to improve despite various warnings on the slow progress.
The letter stated it was a disregard to instructions on execution of works to ensure completion of works within the stipulated time. The contractor is said to lack capacity to do the 5.2km bypass road which is at 35% even after extension of duration by KURA.
The team also toured the Kegati water project which is bound to be complete by December this year to serve over 200, 000 residents of Kisii town and 1m in the outskirts.
By Jane Naitore