The new Prison is estimated to cost of $20 million.
This was revealed by the Minister of Prisons and Correction Services, Tialavea Tionisio Hunt, after two members of the Human Rights Political Party questioned the tender process for the ongoing construction of the new prison.
This is one of the projects outlined in the Supplementary Budget for 2017-2018 that has been tabled and discussed during yesterday’s Parliament session.
M.P. Sulamanaia Tauiliili Tuivasa pointed out to his colleagues the financial report and numbers for the new prison was said to be $7.5 million, but now it’s totaled up to $9 million.
“The truth is there are more buildings to expect from this project, my question directed to the Minister is how much is the estimated cost of the entire project,” asked Sulamanaia.
This was also an issue that former Cabinet Minister, Laauilealemalietoa Leuatea Schmidt, raised.
Tialavea pointed out that due to the questions raised by two M.P.’s, he’s behooved to explain the ongoing prison project.
“The fact of the matter is that there is no variation.”
He said the estimated project is $10 million; however the winning bid was $7.4 million.
“This is a big project, there is a need for water supply, road to the prison and electricity. Also a high secured fence."
“Currently the building project that is ongoing are just cell blocks, it does not include the admin block, the kitchen, the cafeteria, tower, hospital, search house,” explained Tialavea.
“It also does not include the high security blocks and the total estimated project is $20million, but the lack of funds is the reason they are paying the funds in phases."
“He explained the remaining $2.3 million is part of the $7.4 million bid."
“If the Government focuses just on the prison project, that means there would be no funds for other Government obligations such as road maintenance, water connections and that is why we are trying to stretch the budget,” he said.
According to Tialavea, they anticipate utilizing all resources; including reusing what can be salvaged from the old jail cells.
“There are three shifts for this job, when the prison moves to Tanugamalala. There is the morning, evening and the grave yard shift so due to the isolated location, there will also be housings built for the correction officers who work at night.”
He said other expenses for this project is petrol because of how far inland the new location is.