Prison fence contract under wraps

The Minister for Prisons and Correction Services, Tialavea Tionisio Hunt, won't say how much the Government is spending to change a contract for the Tanumalala prison fence but says it's not $1.3 million. 

Contrary to earlier reports, the Minister explained that a $1.3 million figure included in the Government's supplementary budget represents funding donated from the Japanese Government, is not the amount of the variation to the contract for a perimeter fence.

"I don't recall," the Minister said when asked to name a precise figure for the new contract variation, signed last month and designed to complete the jail's perimeter fence. 

"Under the contract it 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 a variation to the contract. 

 The new prison was opened six months ago at an initial cost of $18 million. 

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