Auditor-general releases report on $700 million Juba-Rumbek Road
A recent report by the Auditor-General has exposed flaws and delays in the building of the Juba Rumbek Road, including improper public procurement procedures and the lack of contractor supervision.
The audit’s purpose was to determine if the Ministry of Roads and Bridges had made sure that the Juba-Rumbek Road was constructed on schedule, at a reasonable cost, and in accordance with quality standards.
The Auditor-General, Steven Wondu, presented the report of Juba- Rumbek Construction revealing that the contractor for Juba-Rumbek Road construction was not procured through open competitive tendering, but through single sourcing.
“It was therefore not possible to confirm whether the contract was awarded to the most competent contractor at the most reasonable contractor price,” the report states.
The South Sudan Roads Authority Act, 2011 states that the Roads Authority is required to assume project management responsibilities for all of South Sudan’s trunk roads.
But the audit found that although Juba-Rumbek Road is a trunk, the Authority was not involved in the road’s construction.
“It was only involved when a committee was formed to investigate and recommend remedial actions after the road was destroyed by floods in May 2020,” it stated.
Additionally, Amb Wondu, disclosed that the reason the Road Authority was not involved in the road construction was unclear.
“There is there for risk that, the quality of the road may be compromised when the Ministry of Roads and Bridges prepares the policies, standards, and specifications for road construction and again monitor and supervise the implementation of the road construction.”
The report indicated that the Ministry of Environment and Forestry was not initially involved in feasibility study for the construction and upgrading of Juba-Rumbek Road and as a result, the “design was inadequate and hydrological information on the volume of water was missing in the feasibility study.”
Consequently, the river catchment areas along the route were grossly underestimated.
As a result, the contractor installed inadequate drainage structures causing water accumulation near Bilpam, which eventually washed out a section of the road.
Construction work was halted and the design was revised causing delay in execution of the work and an additional cost USD 25,408,025 which increased the contract price from $ 711,125,700 to $736,533,725
The delays and the extra cost could have been avoided if the Environmental Social Impact Assessment had been properly done from the beginning.