Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Arrest warrant out for Serowe Water Reticulation Project engineer

The Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) has issued an arrest warrant for George Zacharlia, the engineer who supervised Serowe’s multi-million pula water reticulation project, sources in the DPP have revealed.

The Serowe reticulation project now stands idle because of some defects.

Sources say the arrest warrant was issued late last year after it was learnt that Zacharlia was in South Africa.

“There was information that he was somewhere in South Africa,” said the source, “and an arrest warrant was issued based on that information but now he seems to have disappeared into thin air.”
Zacharlia had been employed by Herbco Technical Services and Engineering Consultants, MT and Associates, who had been contracted by Arab Contractors Botswana, which had won the tender.

Asked about the whereabouts of Zacharlia this week, an employee of the company, who also declined to give her name, just laughed and said, “He has long left for his home country.”

Efforts to talk to the General Manager of the company were fruitless as he was said to be busy attending meetings.

A few years ago, some employees of Arab Contractors Botswana, as well as Zacharlia, were charged with corruption. This came about after an employee who used to work on the same project alerted the DCEC that sub standard materials were being used in the project.

The “whistle blower” was sacked and the case was heard in Court in Serowe but, soon afterwards, it was dismissed on technical grounds that it had not been properly filed. Currently, it is reported that prosecutors in the Directorate of Public Prosecution are working on reinstating the case.

Meanwhile, the multi-million pula water reticulation project is still not operating because the Central District authorities are refusing to have it handed over to them citing major defects.

This was confirmed by Ephraim Kelaeng, the Principal Technical Officer in the Department of Water Affairs. When asked what they intended to do about those defects, Kelaeng said, ”We are planning to meet them (management of Arab Contractors) to urge them to correct the defects as they are the main contractors of the project.”

At the time of going to press, The Sunday Standard could not confirm whether the scheduled meeting had taken place as both Kelaeng and managers of Arab Contractors Botswana were unavailable.

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The Telegraph September 30

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 30, 2020.