Senior Sports Reporter
SOME fly-by-night 2014 African Union Sports Council Region Five Under-20 Youth Games contractors have reportedly gone into panic mode, fearing to be exposed by the ongoing government sanctioned forensic audit of the Games’ equipment and facilities.
The audit was ordered after serious suspicions that some unscrupulous contractors did a shoddy job after being hired under unclear circumstances to defraud the Government.
Sport and Recreation Minister Makhosini Hlongwane recently revealed that $24 million was channelled towards the Games by the Government as part of preparations, but no single new structure was built, with contractors just renovating existing infrastructure.
“People are in serious panic mode. They have realised that their cheating will soon be exposed and it won’t be surprising if police are called in because this is fraud,” said one supplier.
A lot of work done prior to the Games is now in a sorry state. The Barbourfields Stadium drainage system, for example, never worked from day one. Some pumps at municipality swimming pools are not working, including the heating system at the City Pool.
“Some contractor from Harare has been busy working at the (City) swimming pool of late, almost three years after the company had apparently said it had done a professional job. These are the people making us suffer because money can’t be released for poor jobs like this,” bemoaned one supplier.
The audit report is expected to be out by the end of this month, with the first batch of payments expected immediately after.
“The audit report was ordered on the basis of suspicions in terms of charges we received. I tell you that $24 million was channelled to Bulawayo as part of the preparations, but no new structure was built. People were just renovating what existed and you expect us to just pay. I am a responsible minister and will not do that. However, once the audit report is done and you provided a service, trust me I will pay. In fact, we want to extinguish this debt this year,” Minister Hlongwane told reporters last month.
There are also allegations that some members of the local organising committee looted some items such as jackets that were meant for senior government and visiting officials.