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AKIRIKI ROAD PROJECT RECEIVED PROPER APPROVAL FROM TENDER BOARD

A COM decision of 30 of March 2017 approved a contract between the Vanuatu Government and Akiriki Ltd.

The COM decision approved that the Vanuatu Government enter a partnership with Akiriki ltd to complete an access road to Ramada Resort and also endorsed Akiriki Ltd to engage a contractor and engineer to supervise and complete the access road.

COM also approved that there will be reimbursement of cost to Akiriki Ltd along various stages of the project.

The total cost as of the access road amounts to VT18,621,563 of which will be reimbursed directly to Akiriki.

On 17 January 2017, the tenders board replied to an application by the PWD to approve the access road works to Ramada Resort by Akiriki Ltd and the written approval by the Tenders board was brought before the COM who approved the same.

The Tender Board approved the PWD application according to section 30 of the Tender Board Act of 1999 and the requirements for a Sole Source Procurement Process were also fulfilled including a risk management plan attached.

The Tender Board also cited that the PWD application also provided the name of Pierre Brunet as the contractor and as required by law, the process the Tender Board needs in place to approve Sole Source Procurement Process were met in full.

Ramada Resort opened on the 10th Of March 2017 and the request for Sole Sourcing Procurement Process began in 2016 and the MFEM On 6 December 2016 in a written letter to the Tender Board said after the review of the Akiriki Access Road application, all the requirements are in order.

The Akiriki Access Road is now being investigated by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Vanuatu Police Force.

Minister for Infrastructure and Public Utilities, Jay Ngwele, said in a report by Daily Post that “according to the law, the threshold for contracts that can be given by the minister at the time was VT5 million, but instead the project was around VT18 million.”

Former Minister Jotham Napat has reiterated that “even he himself, does not have the powers alone to approve funds, and the Government process is extremely difficult at times to bypass”

The Minister made the remarks following allegations against him on the project.