THE Joint Civil Society Groups & Concerned Citizens (JCSG & CC) calls on the government and relevant authorities to immediately investigate the failed Non-Directional Beacons (NDB) provincial airports rehabilitation project under the Ministry of Aviation.
It also urged the Aviation Ministry and the Central Tender Board to properly analyse and assess the technical competencies of companies bidding for the same project under a recent public tender (CTB C49/14) which closed on 26 June 2014.
The group’s interim chairman Barnabas Henson said reliable sources claim that in November 2012 the project was directly awarded to a local communications firm, for more than $2 million.
He said the project was to rehabilitate and re-install NDBs at the Kirakira, Auki, Munda, and Rennell airports.
“The project technically failed leaving these airports still without functional NDBs to date,” Mr Henson said.
“But according to new tender documentation, a corresponding NDB project involving the very same airports has been re-issued for tender through the Central Tender Board.”
He said the his sources further alleged that in 2013, an employee of the same firm had without proper consultation with aviation engineers, attempted to tamper with the Honiara main NDB at the Henderson International airport.
Ministry technicians claim that the employee’s actions was in serious breach of ICAO safety and security regulations and had unnecessarily placed the lives of aircrafts and international and domestic travellers at serious risk.
“However, the JCSG & CC understands that following the incident, no investigation was ever carried by the Ministry to look into it,” he said.
“This calls for immediate investigations as the allegations are quite serious.
“The involvement of key ministry officials in these allegations cannot be ruled out so to speak.
“Such technical incompetence cannot be allowed into high risk areas such as aviation because it directly places human lives and properties in severe danger.
“The Ministry of Aviation has had its fair share of allegations of corruption, mismanagement, and abuse of official power yet the government has continuously elected to ignore it.
“Due to the failure of the previous contract, the contractor plus the contract award process must be investigated with a view to recompensing the public purse of the alleged $1.8 million the company had already received in payments for the failed contract.”
Comments are being sought from the Ministry of Aviation.