Lilongwe City Council Desmond Bikoko (centre): says does not know RFA has suspended funds for road maintenance in Lilongwe

LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-The Roads Fund Administration (RFA) over the weekend, suspended payments for all road maintenance programs to Lilongwe City Council (LCC), due to substandard road construction work.

Road Administration Spokesperson Masauko Mngwaluko, said that payments will be only made after the council addresses the quality concerns of the road works.

Mngwaluko said that payments will be made based on a assurances by an independent consultant, engaged by RFA, which will make recommendation.

However, both Lilongwe City Council Mayor Desmond Bikoko, and Chief Executive officer Moza Zeleza, said they were unaware of the funds towards completion of the roads maintenance being suspended.

The development comes a few days after the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, queried Council, for gross negligence of duty on the construction of roads in the city, which are in a poor state.

The ministry even threatened to take disciplinary action against the Council’s office of the CEO Zeleza over incompetency and negligence of duty.

The contentious matter comes after the ministry’s monitoring visits to the city roads upgrading in the country’s four cities including Lilongwe, where construction works is by Plem Construction Company.

The monitoring team visit to Area 24 via Ngwenya Road, observed that the road was poorly done and that the bituminous surfacing was a middle level quality as opposed to asphalt that is high quality.

The ministry monitors found that not only the middle-level surfacing quality work, this was also chosen after the consultant objected to a chip-seal surface (very low quality) that was selected by the Councilors. The objective was to cover more kilometres and at a cheaper cost.

The Ministry therefore ordered the Council to ensure that the consulting engineer is reinstated with immediate effect, and that works are professionally supervised. The said all the road work by Plem Construction will also be reassessed.

The RFA allocated MK2.7 billion, MK2.7 billion, MK1.5 billion, and MK1.5 billion to the Lilongwe, Blantyre, Mzuzu and Zomba councils respectively, in the current financial year ending on June 30. This falls under the special City roads rehabilitation program.

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