The Ministry of Public Works and Transport is planning to again revoke money from a $6 million construction contract with the Vietnamese company Cinco 5 because the company is working too slowly, ministry Director General Chhin Kong Hean said Friday.
“We can’t accept this result,” Chhin Kong Hean said. “We have to cancel part of the contract, because this company does not follow our agreement.”
Under the original contract signed in April 2002, Cinco 5 agreed to reconstruct four sections of National Roads 5 and 6 for $6 million. In March, the government revoked $3 million of the contract because the company was too slow in constructing two sections of National Road 5 connecting Battambang and Banteay Meanchey provinces.
Now the government is prepared to pull an additional $1.5 million because it says Cinco 5 has completed only 30 percent of a section of National Road 6 linking Skun commune in Kompong Cham province and Tang Krasang commune in Kompong Thom province. Under the contract, Chhin Kong Hean said, that section of road must be completed in October.
After the deadline passes, Chhin Kong Hean said, the government will fine Cinco 5 $2,000 per day until the road is finished. He added that he suspects Cinco 5 is troubled financially.
“If it doesn’t use its own capital first, the road won’t be finished,” Chhin Kong Hean said. “You build the road first, then you get paid after. If you cannot afford, we stop you.”
Ministry officials said they will look for a new company to work on National Road 6. Battambang’s Public Work Office replaced Cinco 5 on the National Road 5 project.
An official decision to reduce Cinco 5’s contract could come within the next two weeks, Public Works Ministry Project Manager Pheng Sovicheano said Friday. Ministry officials, he said, are scheduled to meet soon with the Asian Development Bank, which is funding the project.
Anthony Jude, deputy head of the ADB, had not been contacted by government officials as of Friday, though he acknowledged the government has had problems with Cinco 5.
“Maybe the government has had enough,” Jude said. “If you don’t perform, that’s it.”
Officials from Cinco 5 could not be contacted Friday. The Vietnamese Embassy did not know about the planned contract reduction. Nguyen Thanh Duc, the embassy’s press attache, said Friday he was confident Cinco 5 and ministry officials could work out an agreement.
In Kompong Thom province, Second Deputy Governor Som Sophat said Cinco 5 worked slowly compared with other road construction companies.
“It’s very difficult to drive with mud and massive construction equipment on the road,” Som Sophat said Friday. “If there is rain, your car will get stuck.”
(Additional reporting by Daniel Ten Kate)