By PEARSON KOLO
THE government lost K54 million to fraud and bogus claims disguised as compensation for the Highlands Highway rehabilitation project, an expert has claimed, The National reports.
Consultant Mori Resources said the fraud was perpetrated by the absence of legislation on road corridor managements.
The fraud and bogus claims were pushed by public servants colluding with dishonest villagers, the firm said.
Further claims lodged by villagers with the Department of Works escalated to K68 million, compelling the state to put on hold the
This had abruptly disrupted all rehabilitation and upgrading work on the Highlands Highways and other major roads in the country.
The Asian Development Bank, which loaned the money to fund the project, has pulled out.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Works Don Polye received the report of this fraud last Friday by the consulting firm which was engaged to undertake structural mapping, verification and valuation.
Mori Resources said less than K10 million should have been paid to the landowners if proper procedures were followed with only those structures within the 40m corridor of the highway being pulled down, and their owners compensated.
The minister was not impressed with the involvement of public servants into the rod.
“This is corruption by state agents and contractors who are collaborating with the people,” Polye said.
“Everyone in society entangled themselves and willingly participated in this act of corruption to rob the country.”
Polye said immediate actions would be taken against those involved once all the evidences were put together.
Identifying and persecuting those involved, including the landowners, would be fairly easy because Mori Resources had used the GIS structural mapping system linked to a satellite precisely identified who were genuine claimants and who were not.
During the structural mapping process, Mori Resources discovered that of the total K54,067,338 paid out for structures either outside the legal 40m road corridor or were non-existent, only K8,957,175.35 worth of structures were recorded within the 40m corridor.
The minister said he would present the report of the finding to cabinet for deliberation.