$15M Claim lodged against DFAT, MHMS

The proposed Naha birthing facility
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A Local construction company has lodged a claim of $15M from both the Australia Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the Ministry of Health and Medical Services for breach of contract.

This after the termination of its contract on the Naha Birthing Clinic in East Honiara.

The $25 million project came to a halt following the ground breaking ceremony on 26th July 2019.

General Manager of the construction company, Bako Dua, who won the contract said work has progressed in the first stage before it was halted during the second stage.

He said this after a Geo Tech study found the building needs a new design.

Dua said initially the project should be completed in 2020, but was extended to 2021.

He said after the extension lapsed, he received a call that his contract was terminated.

“We engaged a lawyer because my company has signed a contract with both parties.

“We agreed to sort the issue outside court,” he said.

Dua said his lawyer has calculated the claim based on a clause of the contract and it is around $15 million.

He said it is not the fault of the company but the two parties if a Geo Tech study was carried out in the first place before construction started.

Recently, Honiara City Council councillor for Vura ward, Reginald Ngati has questioned why the development is not progressing after the ground breaking ceremony a few years ago.

“This birthing clinic is in my ward and the issue is why it has not been progressing since it was proposed.”

“It is a national project and once completed will meet the challenges faced by pregnant mothers and midwifes,” he added.

“It is quite unbelievable as why such major development is on hold and what really is the cause for the hold up, because the current state does not look right with the community,” he said.

Ngati said he would like the Ministry of Health and Medical Services and DFAT to solve whatever issue and allow the project to progress and be completed.

He alleged it should be solved over the years and expressed concern if political interference on the funding is a factor for the delay.

Ngati said the project for the birthing clinic needs immediate attention and be solved to see it eventuate for the benefit of pregnant mothers in the city.

The Naha Birthing and Urban Health Centre is in Naha Valley adjacent to the current Naha Clinic site.

It is intended to support up to 1,500 low – risk deliveries each year, along with primary health care services to the surrounding community.

DFAT and MHMS have promised to respond to our enquiry on the matter for almost a week, but have not done so before the paper went to print last night.