THE Auditor General has explained that delays in engaging consultants and poor contract management is among the reasons for uneven road works in Lusaka by Avic International Company Limited.
The Road Development Agency in June 2012 single-sourced a non-responsive bidder, Avic International Project Company Limited, to design, rehabilitate, upgrade and construct approximately 402 kilometres of selected urban and township roads in Lusaka at a contract sum of US$348, 293, 745 with a completion period of 43 months, according to a latest Auditor general’s report.
The report of the Auditor General on the road projects under the Road Development Agency (RDA) for the period January 2012 to December 2015 indicate that the project was to be funded through a loan facility from the government of China to improve the road network in Lusaka city.
It stated that the scope of works included widening selected roads which have/had very high traffic volume, improving selected roads to and within the industrial and commercial areas, construction of bus bays along selected bus routes as part of road measures and improving of public transport infrastructure, among others.
“Avic International Project Company Limited divided the contract into four lots and [there was] single-sourcing and awarding of contract to [a] non-responsive bidder. On 8th June, 2012 and on behalf of the RDA, the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) invited and received one bid from the single-sourced, Avic International Project Company Limited. A review of the tender evaluation report revealed that Avic International Project Company Limited was not only single-sourced, but also found to be non-responsive,” the report revealed.
The report cited two reasons which pushed Avic International into a non-responsive mode.
“The bidder provided audited financial statements for the years 2009, 2010 and 2011. However, no opinion by an auditor was given on the financial standing of the firm for the years 2007 and 2008 for the statements provided by the bidder. This did not conform to the requirements of the bidding document that requires that audited financial statements of the bidder are provided for the last five years to demonstrate the current soundness of the bidder’s financial position,” it read.
“Avic International Project Company Limited provided only two contracts undertaken within the last five years that conformed to a value of at least US$100 million. The bidder was thus declared non-responsive on the basis that they provided only two contracts when they were to provide at least three contracts within the last five years, each of a value at least US$100 million. As a result of the detailed evaluation that showed that the bid from Avic International Company Limited was non-responsive to the requirements at the detailed evaluation stage, the bid did not qualify to proceed to the financial evaluation stage and as a result, the evaluation team recommended that the tender for the rehabilitation and upgrading of approximately 360 km of selected township and urban roads in Lusaka be annulled and re-advertised. [But] despite this recommendation, the contract was awarded to Avic International Company Limited.”
Delay in engagement of consultants and poor contract management, according to the report, were among the other reasons that hampered smooth road works in Lusaka city.
“Although the contractor was engaged on 29th August, 2012, there was a delay in the engagement of the consultants for periods ranging from 23 to 24 months…,” stated the voluminous report.
The road works, that brought intense political hype, were coded L-400.