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Mutua in Sh3m contractor debt row

BUSIA
By | March 29th 2010

By Martin Mutua

Government Spokesman Alfred Mutua is embroiled in a tussle with a contractor over delayed payments of Sh3 million.

And the Ministry of Public Works has warned Dr Mutua that failure to pay the money was in breach of contract, which will cost the Government unnecessary expenses as the amount continues to attract interest.

The issue at hand is a project in which the contractor undertook work to partition Mutua’s office in Bima House, Mombasa.

Sources at the Public Works Ministry say the job was completed last August and the office handed over to the Government Spokesman.

"The Ministry of Public Works signed the handover certificates as well as the those for completion of the work on behalf of Mutua after the job was completed satisfactorily," added our source.

The source further said the office was then handed over to Mutua in August and his staff occupied the premises. After waiting since August to be paid in vain, the contractor wrote to Mutua over delayed payments, but nothing was done.

The contractor, according to our source, then wrote to the Public Works Ministry over the matter.

According to the letter dated February 26, a copy of which was obtained by The Standard, a Public Works official, Mr Arch D Obingo on behalf of the Coast Provincial Works Officer warns Mutua of the consequences.

"Failure to honour payment certificates within 30 days of issue is a breach of contract as per clause 23.3 of the conditions of contract," reads the letter in part.

It goes on to state: "To avoid the Government incurring unnecessary expenses in terms of interest accruing from delayed payment certificates, you are advised to honour payments," adds Obingo.

The source said the amount in question was Sh2.8 million for the completion of the work and Sh310,000, which is half of the retention fee that is normally released six months after the completion of the work.

When contacted, Mutua confirmed the contractor had undertaken the work and that he had received the warning by the Public Works Ministry. However, the Spokesman who spoke to The Standard on phone, could not explain why he had delayed payment.

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