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Zomba Stadium project delays

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A month after the government handed over construction of a K2 billion Zomba Stadium project to the contractor, less work has been done on the facility.

It has transpired that the government has not released money amounting to K120 million for the project.

The Daily Times’ visit to the facility on Monday afternoon found only two people on the ground, cleaning the place.

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Before entering the stadium through the main gate, we were invited by the sign-post reading “No Traing” hopefully meaning “No training” for the Zomba teams which use the facility.

The unavailability of the stadium has forced teams such as Red Lions to be using Balaka Stadium.

According to the contract documents, the project is supposed to run for six months, from June to December as the first phase, but only the dismantling of the VIP and other offices’ roof and windows has started on the facility.

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However, contractor Dan Chale, who is the Managing Director of DEC Construction Company, said they have started working on the project, but they are waiting for an advance payment from the government to commence the work with full force.

“Three days after signing the contract agreement, we went on the site and conducted surveys plus mounting beacons so that people should not invade the facility’s land and then we started demolishing the old facility. If you did not find people working there it is because we are waiting for the money to start serious work,” Chale said.

While admitting that such delays would affect the time-frame of the project, Chale said they would strive to beat the deadline.

Recently, President, Peter Mutharika, while addressing a meeting in Zomba, said that all was set for the rolling out of the project.

Minister of Local Government, Kondwani Nankhumwa also assured Parliament that money was available for the project to start.

Principal Secretary in the ministry, Kiswell Dakamau, and Zomba City Council Chief Executive Officer, Dyson Jangiya, represented the government and signed the contract on May 27.

Jangiya was not available for a comment on the matter, but Dakamau referred the reporter to the Ministry’s Public Relations Officer, Muhlabase Mughogho.

But Mughogho, though with little knowledge on the project, admitted that the government has not released money for the project.

“Of course, I don’t have updated information on the matter, but what I know is that the advance payment form was already signed and we are within the payment period. We are, therefore, processing that the payments should be done for the project to commence,” she said.

She could not disclose the amount of money that the government is supposed to release for the first phase of the project.

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