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Saturday, August 8, 2020

Parliament Committee takes a swipe at consultants defending shoddy roads works

General News Parliament Committee takes a swipe at consultants defending shoddy roads works

MMD National Secretary Mwansa Mbulakulima
Mwansa Mbulakulima

THE Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament has taken a swipe at consultants who defend shoddy road works, alleging collusion with incompetent contractors was costing the public huge amounts of money.

Speaking when the committee inspected the 104km of D104/D791 Chipata-Mfuwe Road, committee member, who is also Milenge MP Mwansa Mbulakulima, said consultants must desist from defending shoddy road works and safeguard the nation’s meagre public resources .

The road showed portions of failure, prompting Nkana MP Alexander Chiteme to ask an official from BCHOD Consulting to rate the company’s own performance on the road on a scale of 1-5, to which the consultant responded; “ 4.5”.

“For you to come and tell us 4.5, it’s actually like you are telling us off…that we don’t know what we are doing. We take great exception to that. This is serious business. It’s not a laughing matter. So you should be serious,” Mr Mbulakulima said.

The committee was infuriated with the response, with Mr Mbulakulima stating the members took great exception to responses that suggested that the consultant thought the committee did not know what it was doing.

Mr Mbulakulima said the consultant should be humble enough to show remorse where they were found wanting and make good of the defects in their work instead of defending the shoddy works.

Acting PAC chairperson, who is Choma MP Cornelius Mweetwa, said it was sad that some consultants were busy shielding contractors from criticism of their substandard works.

Mr Mweetwa said the only reason a consultant would take the contractors’ side in a case where the work was clearly of poor quality would be because they were the ones certifying the job.

He wondered why there seemed to be collusion between the contractor and the consultant to the extent that it was difficult to distinguish between the two roles when it came to taking responsibility for poor work.

The Choma MP urged the RDA to raise the levels of supervision of consultants on the road projects to minimise cases of below-standard road works.

Mr Mweetwa commended the Auditor General’s office for working hard in highlighting the irregularities road projects, saying many of the issues raised in the report had been confirmed by the committee through the inspections conducted.

He encouraged the Auditor General to continue being the eyes of the people by ensuring that there was prudent use and accountability of all public resources, even those going into infrastructure development.

Mr Mweetwa said the committee was pleased that the report did not only highlight financial compliance, but that it went beyond and incorporated the value-for-money aspect.

16 COMMENTS

  1. They are UPND cadres, having direct link to HH.

    Be hard on them, just as you have been humbly trying to teach HH how to live as a responsible citizen.

    • Some of us need to be educated here. How are consultants appointed, what is their working arrangements with the contractor and their Terms of reference? Are they part and parcel of the project team, are they an independent Quality Assurance team and who do they report to?

    • PLEASE PAC DON’T SHOW SUCH IGNORANCE ABOUT THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY !!!!

      Here’s what happens when a competent government entity procures private Professional Engineering (Consultant’s) and Construction Services (Contractors)

      1. Consulting Engineers are employed to detail the scope, design the required infrastructure and produce accurate technical specifications and construction drawings. When Contractors are appointed, its the Engineer’s function to ensure that the actual Construction works comply with the designs and specifications. Engineers then inspect the contractors’ works and recommend to govt to pay them once they’ve satisfied themselves that work has been correctly carried out.
      2. The appointing authority (AA), e.g. RDA or Council should sign a Service Level…

    • CONTINUED\…
      2. The Service Level Agreement (SLA) with the Engineer should clearly state the minimum acceptable level of performance, quality and ethical conduct, as well as the corresponding punitive measures for non-performance and other transgression, and so should the Construction Contract with the Contractor.
      3. So why is the PAC asking for remorse when they could just easily invoke the punitive measures for incompetence, unethical conduct (with EIZ for the Engineer) and NCC for the Contractor? monies should be recovered from these service providers for poor performance, incompetence, corruption, collusion and economic sabotage to the country!!! These are pure THIEVES we’re dealing with here… CRY MY BELOVED ZAMBIA…

  2. I hope this will sink in the PF cadres heads that this government dununad us on the roads. Whilst the contractors are laughing all the way to the bank, poor Zambians have to pay back the Euro bonds through their nose and struggle tgo survive the high ZESCO tarrifs

  3. Please dont stop there. Bring the contractor back to make good all defects at his cost! Thats the only action that will deter other contractors from doing the same. RDA must also be answerable for accepting such substandard works. Enough lip service, take action now. Anyone who constructs a substandard road falling to last the warranty period and that one who accepts such a project as complete must be dealt with severely!

  4. Just talk nothing will happen. Have learnt here in australia thet 10% of contract wothheld for 1 to 2 years to ensure the project conforms to specifications. Can our government think about this

  5. Book us dey will appreciat coz dats our money, dey ve to b serious government is worsting a lot of money on these projects.

  6. Just thinking, we borrow money to pay for projects then advance money to contractors to start , think that means we are financing contractors and then paying the original borrowing plus interest without passing the costs to the contractor… when can i get a contract please

  7. This has to do with the specifications that were done in accordance with the money that was available, You don’t expect to have a budget for a Brand New Toyota Hilux D4D and yet you want a V8 GX Toyota land Cruiser. Am sure there must be engineers in Parliament who could have ably understood what was on the ground. To a lay man you will see a consultant supporting the contractor but as a technocrat you are bound to understand why such a product was delivered. In short the amount of money that was available was not enough for a bituminous standard road but surface dressing thin layer thats why the consultant gave himself 4.5 out of 5.

  8. Consultants are suppose to defend themselves based on specifications. Any deviations from standard work is not accepted. The benchmarks are known before inspections start. so what is observed on the ground must meet the SPEC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. What are you saying ? A sub standard road is a sub-standard road, why should one rate it otherwise

  10. So what are you going to do about it PAC? I really hope this will not be the usual rhetoric of playing to the gallery and making us believe you parliamentarians are working when infact not.

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