Prison fence completed, a year later
The high security anti-climb fence around the Tanumalala Prison is finally completed, a year after the $18.2 million prison was officially opened.
The Minister of Police and Prisons, Tialavea Tionisio Hunt, confirmed that the fence was completed in June.
“Yes, the fence is completed, but we are only waiting for the razor wires to go on top of the fence. There are barb wires on top but the razor will go around it as well,” said 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 awarded to the firm Transwork.
Last year, Member of Parliament, Olo Fiti Vaai, criticised the Tenders Board and urged it to take punitive action over the incomplete fence at newly-built prison following the recent escape of two prisoners.
Olo believes the move should be a top priority for the Government, given $18.2 million in public funding being invested into the construction of the prison facility, and its official opening with an incomplete security fence.
“I will not accept the delay in the completion of one of the vital parts of the prison is due to the bad weather and the rocky terrain," he said.
“The safety of our people is paramount!”
The Salega M.P. told the Samoa Observer that the Tenders Board should step in as the high security fence was not completed on time.
The $2 million contract was awarded to Transwork for the high security fence which was supposed to be completed by August, before the prisoners were moved into the new prison.
But Olo did not accept the explanation: “Those are excuses. A contract should be awarded to a company that can do the job. They all know the area in question is rocky.”
The Government's supplementary budget for financial year 2019-2020 included $1.3 million in funding donated by the Japanese Government, a total amount from which the contract variation will be drawn.
The Minister said the variation is for extension of the contract for up to three months but the price of the contract remains at the same.
The new prison was officially opened in August 2019. It caters for about 700 inmates.