$3 million variation for Ti’avea Airport not tendered, Minister confirms
A $3 million variation to the contract for the Ti’avea Airport project was directly awarded by the Government and did not go through a tender process.
This was confirmed by the Minister of Works, Transport and Infrastructure, Papali'i Niko Lee Hang.
The contract, for the clearing of the land, was instead directly awarded to Aldan Civil Engineering Company Ltd in 2018, for an original contract price of $3.57 million.
The company is owned by the family of the Associate Minister of the Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Peseta Vaifou Tevaga.
In January, the Minister said the variation was approved by the Tenders Board and Cabinet but it was not tendered for bids.
He explained the $3 million variation for the project had to cover for costs in alleviating the ground for the runway because the land was waterlogged.
On Tuesday the Minister was questioned whether the $3million variation was tendered.
“There was no tender [for bids],” said the Minister at his office. “And that is because we had to divert from the original plans, due to families and land issues we had to change locations but it’s still the same contract."
Put to the Minister the original contract with Aldan Company was $3.47 million and the additional $3 million should have been tendered, he said the funds in question are “added cost to the project.”
According to Papali’i, there will be another variation of the airport project and that will certainly be up for tender.
“There will be a tender [for the next variation] but, from my experience it’s much cheaper to award it to the company already doing the work, but we will go through the tender process nonetheless,” he said.
When the Samoa Observer contacted Peseta on Wednesday for a comment, he said: “There is no such thing but I will have to talk to Danny and ring you back."
Peseta did not return the call at press time.
The Samoa Observer also contracted the Samoa Airport Authority, Chief Executive Officer Silimana’i Ueta Solomona for a comment but there has been no response.