Cabinet issues Prison directive
Cabinet has issued a directive to discontinue any variations for the ongoing prison project, unless approved by Cabinet.
This is according to a F.K. (18) 19 directive issued to the Samoa Prisons and Correctional Services (S.P.C.S)on 30 May 2018.
The new prison where the first phase is almost complete in Tanumalala, is built by Schwarz Construction.
According to the F.K. leaked to the Samoa Observer, a total of $1.5 million funding has been approved for additional work for the prison.
The F.K. (18) 19 was signed by C.E.O. of the Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Agafili Shem Leo.
A total of $355,443.15 is approved for Kramer Ausenco (Samoa) Limited for additional architectural work for the new prison.
The Cabinet has also approved the extension of the O.S.M. Construction for additional work, civil engineering work in the amount of $435,500.
Furthermore, Cabinet has also approved a four month extension for the Schwarz Construction for additional work in the amount of $716,800.
The Cabinet has also ordered the S.P.C.S not to conduct any further variations unless it is approved by the Tenders Board with the final decision by the Cabinet.
The Cabinet also ordered the S.P.C.S. to adhere the Tender Process policies in place to ensure the Government integrity is protected and also to eliminate public complaints against the Government.
“Furthermore, the remaining work for the new prison for stage two and any additional work will be tendered publicly,” according to the F.K. (18) 19.
According to the budget for financial year 2018-2019, a total of $3.9million has been allocated to complete phase one and part of phase two of the new prison, including road construction and water supply.
Last month, the Ministry of Finance flatly rejected a proposal for an additional $10 million for the second phase of the Tanumalala Prison facility.
The rejection was confirmed by the Minister of Prison Services and Corrections, Tialavea Tionisio Hunt, in response to questions from the Samoa Observer.
“It was flatly denied by the Ministry of Finance,” he said adding that “they only approved $2.9 million.”
The facility is already estimated to cost more than $20 million tala.
“We estimated that phase one would cost up to $10 million,” said Tialavea.
“However the bid that won was $7.4 million.”
As reported earlier, the bid was by Schwarz Construction, a company owned by Tialavea’s younger brother, Alai'asa Schwarz Hunt.
“We received $3.7 million from the main budget for F.Y. 2018-2019; then from the supplementary we got $3.8 million.
“Another $1.5 million was received for the administration block and in total that is $9 million. That is the money they gave us.
“The additional $10 million proposed for the main budget of financial year 2019-2020 is for the second phase. But it was flatly denied by the Ministry of Finance.”
But the Minister made it clear there is no variation to the cost of the first phase of the project.
“The initial plan laid out for the jail had to be amended because the area where the Prison is built is rocky.
“So we have had to amend the original plans and now we are putting the tower on the front and the center of the compound.”
Asked if the tower was included in the tender for the first phase, the Minister said no.
“It was not included in the first phase; however after going through the plans of the project, we have decided to include this in the first phase because it’s required.”
So why are they proceeding with the tower when it was not part of the bidding process?
"We have decided to include the tower to fit in with the first phase. Although it is not included, but for good reason, it is needed there,” said Tialavea.
“We are currently negotiating to determine what the estimated cost for the tower is. I think it might be a little over $900,000.”
Asked why there has been no bidding process for the tower if it was not part of first phase, the Minister said there was no need.
“There is a current contract and they own the site. The committee that oversees this project, we just added this new tower.
The Minister is adamant that their initial proposal of $20million for the prison will not increase.
“The remaining projects we have are the admin block, the generator, and storage with walk in freezer, housing for Correction officers on the compound, water tank and the rehabilitation building. This is all included in phase two.
“The total project is $20 million.”