Wednesday, October 4, 2023

BIUST, contractor bicker over P99m road project

A storm is brewing between the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) and a contracted company, Rockefeller Civil Engineering Contractor, over a six-kilometre road project valued at P99 million.

The road that starts from Palapye and ends in Lecheng is said to have taken years to complete.

The contractor has accused BIUST of a shoddy scope of work saying this led to the delay in completing the road.

Rockefeller Civil Engineering is understood to be considering taking legal action against BIUST should it fail to pay money reportedly due to the contractor.

Both parties are at loggerheads over the unfinished project as the contractor claims that the client owes him a huge amount of money which the client denies.  

Responding to Sunday Standard inquires, BIUST spokes person Keoagile Rafifing said: “The University is concerned that the project has not been delivered within the expected period and appropriate measures are being explored to complete the project.”

He explained that the tender was awarded to Rockefeller Civil Engineering contractor at a cost of P99 million. The project was scheduled to be completed on the 24th of August 2017 and the contract was eventually extended to the 1st of April 2018 to allow the construction to be fully completed.

Rafifing stated that termination of the contract is one of the various options available for consideration and the University is exploring all avenues that can facilitate the project to its completion.

He indicated that in order to get value for money the institution has engaged a team of consulting engineers to provide oversight on quality and conformance.

Rafifing stated the institution has not yet blacklisted any company that has failed to complete to comply.

“Upon completion of all projects, an end of activity report is prepared and shared with key stakeholders including regulatory authorities for review,” said Rafifing.

Contacted for comment, the managing director of Rockefeller Civil Engineering Leatile Moletsane accused his client of failing to provide a prepared scope of work which he said contributed to the delay of the project.

“It is true that I was awarded the project to the tune of P99 m in which the project had its own challenges which I did not anticipate as the contractor,” he said.

Moletsane explained that the project could have long been completed and handed over to the client but that did not happen due to a number of factors.

He said due to various challenges on the site, which he could not disclose, the client then extended the contract by a year to allow the project to be completed

“As we speak, I have now completed the project and sooner than later I will be handing over the project to the client. It is unfortunate that the project was not completed on time as that also taint my reputation,” he stated.

He revealed that in most cases clients and the public at large often criticize contractors for failing to complete projects on time but the main person that should shoulder the blame must be the consultant “who sometime messes the project and eventually shift the blame to the contractor.”

Moletsane said he did not get the tender through corrupt means instead he “tendered like anybody else and followed what was required.”

“I have never been interviewed or interrogated by any law enforcement agencies regarding the tender,” said Moletsane.


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