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Kwacha devaluation affects court project

The Ministry of Transport and Public Works has said the 2012 devaluation of the kwacha had a negative impact on the construction of an extra building at the High Court in Lilongwe.

Major works at the building have stalled for many months, at a time pressure on courtrooms is mounting at both the High Court and Lilongwe Magistrates Court.

According to sources, the project was expected to cost government about K60 million, but the money was used up before completion of the construction.

Ministry of Transport and Public Works spokesperson James Chakwera confirmed that work stalled because currently there are no funds.

“The work stalled because the contractor could not be paid more money to finish the project. Work on the site started in 2011. All the money for the project was paid but due to devaluation of 2012, all the money was used before completion of the project,” Chakwera said.

He however said the contractor is still on site.

“Government is negotiating to have an addendum to the contract. We want extra money to be made available so that the project is completed,” Chakwera said.

In an interview on Tuesday Judiciary spokesperson, Mlenga Mvula, said they were waiting for the Department of Building to clear the issue of funding the contractor. He said works completely stalled last year.

According to Mvula, the new building is expected to have courtrooms for High Court and Chief Resident Magistrate.

“Shortage of courtrooms has crippled our work. A building like that one is expected to help in easing that problem,” Mvula said.

On Tuesday, due to shortage of courtrooms, High Court Judge Fiona Mwale heard a Cashgate case in the unfinished building.

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