Govt. fines Ulia Construction Company over Apaula Road
The Government has moved to fine a local construction company for its failure to meet the deadline in fixing the Apaula Heights road at Lalovaea.
The decision was confirmed by the Minister of Works, Transport and Infrastructure, Papali’i Niko Lee Hang, during an interview with the Samoa Observer last week.
He was responding to questions following complaints by residents of Apaula Heights about the condition of their road.
Papali’i said all contractors are given a certain timeframe to complete the project.
When they fail to meet their deadlines, there are penalty fees.
“The contract says the project should have been completed by August but that did not happen,” he said.
“The penalty charge started in September.”
The Minister did not have information about how much the fine is.
“I think it is two percent of the cost of the project and that’s a daily charge. So the longer they delay, that is how much money they will pay as a penalty.”
The $400,000 tala contract to fix the road was awarded to Ulia Construction in October 2017.
“There was an extension filed by Ulia Construction through the L.T.A. and submitted to the Tender’s Board which has been approved,” said Papali’i.
“The extension is for additional time.”
Papali’i added that the “weather is a major factor.”
Another factor is the location of the road and how steep it is.
He confirmed that there are no variation costs for the project.
The Samoa Observer has been trying to contact the Ulia Construction Office for a comment.
A receptionist who identified herself as “Sina” assured that the messages would be relayed to Owner and President of the Company, Ututa'aloga Charlie Ulia.
“I will relay your message to Ulia and see if he wants to comment or not,” she said.
No response was received at press time.
Last week, the Samoa Observer reported that residents of Apaula Heights have become fed up of waiting for their road, which had been badly affected by landslide, to be fixed.
Last year, former L.T.A. Chief Executive Officer, Leasi John Galuvao assured that Apaula Heights Road would be fixed around January this year.
At the time, Leasi confirmed there were numerous complaints lodged directly to their office. However, he explained the specific area is quite a steep hillside on the left where a landslide has taken out most of the road shoulder and pavement.
“Fixing it will require some time. The work is not straight forward. It requires proper engineering investigation and designs.”