Fraud fears muddle Mota Engil over Area 18 Interchange: Cost spiked from K7bn to K16bn


Mota Engil and Roads Authority (RA) chiefs inflated the cost of the Area 18 Interchange from about K7 billion to K16 billion, a whistleblower says.

Mota Engil, which enjoyed government construction contracts during the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regime, constructed the interchange which was completed last year.

According to a whistleblower, after the interchange was designed by another engineering firm, Mota Engil was allowed by the Roads Authority to redesign the project.

An audit reportedly done by Pamodzi Consulting Engineers revealed irregularities in the construction of the interchange.

The Roads Authority, which is led by Engineer Emmanuel Matapa, never reviewed Mota’s new designs as is required and also allowed Mota to embark on the project before agreements were made on how much construction of the redesigned interchange would cost the government.

This gave Mota a free pass to make changes in construction without approval of the Roads Authority as the RA only made comments on the project two years after construction had commenced.

“This is not unusual in Mota Engil deals. Simply put, at redesign stage – costs escalate. When you hear of costs dancing all the way to 3 times the original contract price, this is how it is done,” the whistleblower said.

The interchange was constructed as part of an initiative to upgrade the Area 49–Area 18–Parliament roundabout road to a dual carriageway.

It was initially expected to be completed in November, 2019 but the deadline was moved to February, 2020 before being shifted again to September last year. The road was opened to traffic in October.