Senators are urging President Surangel Whipps Jr. to take legal action against parties who might have been responsible for the delays in the completion of the Koror-Airai Sanitation Project ( KASP). 

In Senate Joint Resolution 11-42 introduced last week,  the senators also asked  President Whipps to “take all possible actions” including seeking interest abatement until the project is completed, 

The KASP  is aimed at providing effective, efficient, and sustainable sanitation services to Koror and Airai, and the Project is expected to be completed by 2022. 

The Project includes sewage collection, treatment and disposal systems, and consulting services to manage and implement these activities.  

To finance the project, the government has entered into a $28 million loan agreement with the Asian Development Bank ( ADB) .

“As of July 2023, the KASP is still incomplete. Almost 10 years have passed and KASP is not yet complete, and it is readily apparent that there has been substantial waste and mismanagement on the project,” the resolution stated. 

The resolution added that it appears that the delays can be partly blamed on the contractors and the consultant of the project. 

They also noted that COVID has also affected the work on KASP and affected the economy of the country thus affecting its ability to service the loans.

The resolution also noted that unless the completion of project,  sewerage runoff can’t be prevented and instead it keeps paying for a project which is not benefiting the country, 

“The current profile for the loan will be difficult to service via increased wastewater payments from customers, as the Republic’s citizens and residents cannot afford an increase given the economic circumstances,” the resolution further added. 

A 2021 audit report on the  (KASP I  by the Office of Public Auditor cited lack of planning, lack of proper management as one of the many reasons that have caused delays and increased costs of the KASP project.

The project completion has been delayed by at least four years and the delays have cost nearly $3 million dollars in contractor claims, reported the audit.

Office of Public Auditor was requested in March of 2019 by Senator Kuartei to conduct a performance audit of the KASP project to address the following concerns: “How much work has been completed, what work has been contracted for when these contracts were in force, and which contracts have been completed.”

Palau Public Utilities Corporation (PPUC), an agency tasked with the implementation of the project responded to the findings agreeing that delays did occur but these were due to a number of factors outside of their control, including lack of available materials on the island, resistant from “small interest group” opposing construction at Long Island, access constrain such national government delaying moving from its CIP office which was one of the main sites of construction among others.

Office of Public Auditor (OPA) said the main problem was the lack of a Project Plan which serves as a blueprint to guide the implementation and administration of the project from planning to closeout, “to ensure the efficient and effective administration of KASP.”

Furthermore, it said that PPUC did not hire a Contracts Manager and Construction Engineer from the start as “PPUC’s in-house experts” to work with project consultants to identify potential problems and provide solutions or alternatives or other measures to avoid delays.

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