“We now know that at least 17kms of water pipes laid by the Chinese company CCECC during Stage One needs to be replaced and it also appears that the company is refusing to acknowledge any liability, this leaves our people with a massive debt and nothing much to show for it,” says Maoate.
He adds that the report compiled by NZ infrastructure consultancy Opus following an independent investigation into Stage One should be made public in the interest of transparency to the taxpaying public.
A request by the Democratic opposition for a copy of the report has been stonewalled by the government on the premise that legal action against CCECC is now being considered. Maoate says it’s incredible that no one in government was listening to warnings made by experts on the materials used, pipe laying methods and unsuitable water pipe joint connections.
“Alarm bells were sounded way back in 2014, but these were ignored in favour of CCECC with government saying everything was on track and fine, now the country is left with a water system that doesn’t work, needs major repairs and our people will have to carry the extra cost that’s now ballooned to $90 million or worse.
A story in Wednesday’s CINews revealed that government wants the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) to replace about a third of the pipelines they laid around Rarotonga in stage one of the project.
A report produced by New Zealand engineering consultancy Opus found problems with both the quality of materials and the standard of workmanship.
A meeting between CCECC and a government team led by MFEM ministry head Garth Henderson subsequently discussed the contractor’s performance, but failed to produce any agreement as to how the pipeline issues could be solved.
The Cook Islands Government is now considering legal action, including a possible lawsuit against the giant global company.
- FSB/Democratic Party/CS