- Court-ordered asset freeze behind delay: contractor
Citing slow progress, the Addis Ababa City Roads Authority (AACRA) last week terminated the 187-million-birr Shiro Meda–Entoto Kidane Mihret road project.
According to the authority, the contactor – Yemane Girmay General Construction PLC – was unable to undertake the project as per schedule owing to financial constraints.
According to the original agreement, the project was supposed to be completed in two years’ time.
The deal on the 20-meter-wide, 2.1-km-long road project was inked between the authority and the contractor in October 2015.
Sluggish work made the authority to decide against considering giving the contractor extra time to finish the project, it was announced.
According to AACRA, the contractor has so far completed only 25 percent of the project.
The authority also noted that before calling off the contract, project consultants Best Consulting PLC. had repeatedly informed the contractor to make sufficient progress, or else.
The authority further indicated that despite its limited capacity, it had tried its best to help out the contactor, who, on its part, claimed that its work was affected by a court-ordered asset freeze following the arrest of company owner Yemane Girmay in last year’s anti-corruption drive.
Company Deputy General Manager Wondwossen Girma (Eng.) told The Reporter, “We have no capacity problem in terms of financial resources to undertake the road project. We are unable to complete the work per schedule because of a court case we have been through. As of last year, our company’s bank account has been blocked by a court order due to the corruption case. We were not also mobilizing our machineries. That’s why we were not able to do the work until the court order was lifted recently.”
He further said, “The authority was quick to call off the contract even though we have notified them that the delay was due to a forced measure imposed on us by a court of law. But they told us it was not the authority’s business, but was one between us and the government.”
According to Wondwossen, though it is not the main reason, the issue of right of way, especially in the first four months of the project, contributed to the delay.
Incidentally, the contract had originally been signed by AACRA’s ex-chief Fekade Haile and Yemane, and the duo were simultaneously taken into custody for allegedly being involved in corruption.