Minister explains $1.3 million contract variation

The six-months old Tanumalala Prison needed a contract variation of $1.3 million tala to complete the perimeter and anti-climb fences.

This is despite the project already costing the Government $18.2 million tala since the awarding of the contract.

Minister for Prisons and Correction Services, Tialavea Tionisio Hunt, told the Samoa Observer during an interview that the contract variation was critical to enable the local contractor, Transwork, to complete the job.

The $1.3 million tala will be additional funding to the $2 million tala that was awarded to Transwork to build the jail’s fencing project.

“We just signed the contract [with Transwork] right before Christmas for the work on the perimeter fence and the variation included in the supplementary budget is required to complete the project,” the Minister said.

Work on the jail’s perimeter fence is now underway, and by the time of its completion should enable the full securing of a corrections facility, which can house up to 700 inmates. 

The jail’s fencing project is expected to be completed within three months, added the Minister.

The prison fence contract was due to be completed in August last year, but Tialavea said bad weather and rugged terrain delayed its completion.

In October last year, he gave the company a deadline to complete the fence before the end of the month, but two months later a variation was submitted with the Prison and Correction Services supplementary budget. 

Tialavea explained there were valid reasons behind the Cabinet’s decision to allow variation of the contract. 

“Due to the terrain of the area which was unexpected, hence the need for a variation to complete the project,” he said.

In relation to the anti-climb fence, Tialavea said that the project is now complete.

“We have already installed two layers of barb wires on the top and the body of the fence to ensure that no one escapes, and I am beyond certainty that unless the prison gates are unlocked it is impossible for a prisoner to escape,” he said.

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