By Pat Kawa In Bo
The contractor, Fackban Construction Company and General Services, is now a very uneasy man with sleepless nights, as he is thinking of how to complete his contract, which involves the second phase of the Military Housing Project at the First Infantry Brigade in Gondama, seven miles off the City of Bo.
It will be recalled that the project for the construction of hosuing for 1st infantry Brigade in Gondama was awarded to Fackban Construction Company and General Services in 2013 by the previous government of Ernest Bai Koroma.
The project has reportedly come to a standstill for several months now due to financial constraints on the part of the contractor. He is largely unable to go ahead with the second phase of the project.
Reports reaching this medium have disclosed that the project was initially pre – financed by the contractor of Fackban Construction Company and General Services and that 85% of the contract was perfectly completed.
The Reports continued that as time drew near to the general elections in 2018, former President Koroma paid an official visit to the construction site at Gondama to access progress on the facility. The President as was reported to have commended the contractor for successfully executing the contract to that level.
Former President Koroma was quoted to have ordered the then Minister of Finance and Economic Development to remit funds to the account of the contractor to undertake the completion of the project. This, as was reported, did not materialize as the 2018 elections was already closer.
Since the new administration took power they have not paid a single cent towards the completion of the project. Reliable sources have informed this medium that the contractor had poured billions of leones into the said project
That has made the contractor financially handicapped and made the said project come to a standstill after the contractor had spent all his resources to finance the project.
The Nightwatch investigation revealed the remaining amount, to be paid by Government to the contractor in question, to complete the contract work stands at four billion leones (Le 4bn), which they could not honour.
What has finally frustrated the contractor and made him more helpless is the payment of twenty five million leones (Le 25M) to the Bank of every month with no hopes to receive funds from government to complete his contract. Investigation further revealed that the construction company has engaged government through letters and meetings, and exploited all other possible means but government could do nothing else about the payment that has forestalled the company’s operations.
The incomplete structures at Gondama are begging for the attention of the SLPP New Direction Government of President Bio to make the dream of a decent and enviable project become a reality and not a mockery.
Sources at the Gondama Military Barracks have intimated this medium that the non-payment of the contractor has left the project to crumble and funds meant for that uncounted for.
Sources say the issue of completion of the housing project for Military officers at Gondama remains unresolved up to press time. The state of affairs of accommodation for the Military at Gondama is an abuse to the New Direction administration, which is nothing to write home about, as some officers are seen sleeping in makeshift structures within the Military Barrack. The ugly development has sent shock waves in the minds of the company workers who have gone months without salaries.
Some military officers, who spoke to the nightwatch on condition of anonymity expressed disappointment over the way and manner in which the current government and its officials are giving blind eyes to projects, that are geared towards their better living condition at the Barracks.
They explained that the project was the initiative of Government to dismantle all makeshift structures at the Barracks to ensure affordable and decent housing for military officers.
The skeleton structures now stand alone and always beckoning to the Brigade Commander of the First Infantry Brigade whenever he passes by to inform the Deputy Chief of Staff, Rtd Major and others to have sympathy.