THE Government on Tuesday revealed how contractors were massively stealing billions of public funds through overpricing of water project construction in different parts of the country.
Water Minister Prof Makame Mbarawa disclosed in Dar es Salaam that the contractors were colluding with public officials in inflating costs.
Prof Mbarawa said some contractors were colluding with some district engineers, district executive directors (DEDs), regional leaders and the vice extended right up to ministerial level, each person seeking some per cent of commission from the particular project, thereby leading to overpricing.
“After going through some water project contracts, we found out that most of them were overpriced by two times their actual costs,” he explained.
His deputy, Mr Jumaa Aweso, was also tough on the deceitful contractors, vowing to release their list today or tomorrow and ban them from obtaining tenders from the ministry.
“We will submit their list to the Contractors Registration Board (CRB) and they will not have an opportunity to work with us,” Mr Aweso stated.
The duo was speaking in Dar es Salaam when officiating the signing of agreements for implementation of six water projects that would address water shortage in Coast and Dar es Salaam regions.
The agreements were signed between the Dar es Salaam Water and Sewerage Authority (DAWASA) and different contractors and manufacturers of construction raw materials.
Prof Mbarawa cited some examples of dubious deals as including that of a water project in Kilando, Nkasi District in Rukwa Region, in which when its tender was floated in 2014, 7.6bn/- was cited as the amount to be paid to the winning contractor.
“But when we re-advertised the same tender in 2019, another contractor won with total costs of 4.5bn/-, but we still didn’t sign the contract as a result we are now constructing it at a cost of 3.9bn/-.
So you can see there is a wide network starting from the district to the ministry,” he said. The minister cited another example was the Muze Group project in Sumbawanga, which was intended to supply water to 10 villages.
When the government advertised a tender for the project, the bids ranged from 5.6bn/- to 6.2bn/-. “But after going through the whole project design, we found out that it could be constructed at the cost of 2.5bn/-.
As we speak we have already sent funds to Sumbawanga for implementation,” he said. The same case also happened in Makete District where the project was said to cost 5.6bn/-, but the same project is now implemented at only 2.3bn/-.
Again, in Tandahimba, Mtwara Region, there was a project that was supposed to cost 5bn/- but after reassessment the costs dropped to 1.6bn/-.
“We will now go through item by item when looking at quotations so that we compare with actual costs in the market… I will be calling manufacturers of the specific materials to know their prices,” he said.
Prof Mbarawa further told the contractors and manufacturers to use and sell quality materials when contracted to implement water projects.
“We would not tolerate seeing pipes lasting for just five years…we will be taking samples for testing to the Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) to check their quality before using them,” he told the contractors.