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GCE Board Building Fight Gets Dirty! 

*Contractor Doubts Engineer’s Sanity

*Engineer Says Contractor Is A Potential Dupe

As the saga over the construction of the GCE Board headquarters in Buea and the refusal to validate the project rages on between the Contractor and the Control Engineer, the belligerents are practically spitting fire in their declarations to The Post.

While the Contractor and Proprietor of Chariot Company Limited, Michael Nkeng dismisses the Control Engineer as an old-fashioned technician who is unstable, the Engineer, Andrew Muluh Taka, insinuates that the Contractor wanted to dupe the State by attempting to be paid twice and for a job poorly executed, reason why he refused to validate the job.

Michael Nkeng fired the salvo in an interview granted The Post (published, in-extenso, on pages 5-6). He also fields questions on the alleged bribe of a car he offered Southwest Governor as well as being wanted in the US for fraudulent financial transactions.

Muluh Taka, on his part, sticks to his guns in counter-fire on Page 7.   

 

Control Engineer Says Contractor Is Dishonest

By Bouddih Adams

The Engineer, who supervised the construction of the GCE Board headquarters, but refused to sign for its reception, has stated that the Contractor is dishonest. 

Reacting to things said about his person in an interview granted by the Contractor and Proprietor of Chariot Company Limited, Michael Nkeng, Engineer Andrew Muluh Taka said the Contractor should direct his argument at the issues concerning the “poor” execution of the contract, instead of “skirting around the issues.” 

Hear him: “The issue is that some of the work was not done, some was badly done and there was a duplication of quantities to the tune of FCFA 32 million,” Taka argued.

On the issue of Chariot Proprietor describing him as “an Engineer of the 70s” who has not evolved, Taka retorted: “That is his opinion; he is not an Engineer himself. He is not a member of the Order of Engineers, so, how can he assess me? By the way, I don’t work alone. I have a team of Engineers working with me,” Taka asserted. 

“He (Nkeng) is Proprietor of Chariot but there is a Manager who carried out the work. I don’t know him (Nkeng); his signature does not appear any where,” stated Taka.

Reacting to the aversion by Nkeng that he is unstable, Taka asserted: “He is skirting around the issues. That is irrelevant to the issues. During the provisional reception, I raised many points about work poorly done or not done at all. There is a long list of things that were supposed to be rectified which I cannot name here,” Taka reiterated. 

Responding to Nkeng’s indictment that he (Taka) took FCFA 3 million as payment for the design of the structure and rather produced but a sketch, Taka stated: “We are in court on that matter. He alleged that I took FCFA 3 million from him under false pretence. However, the matter is in court, hence I will not comment on it.”

Asked whether his own dues have been paid, Taka revealed to The Post, Friday, May 9, that “some outstanding bills” were paid after his arrest and detention by the Governor.

To a question about his problem with the Governor, Taka answered that he did not know.

Meanwhile, a memo that Taka wrote after his detention, dated April 17, stated inter alia:  “My problem with the Governor of the Southwest Region in carrying out my contractual duties started in April 2013. The Contractors requested for further extension of execution time after they had been granted three months more times to finish, thus resulting in execution time of nine (09) months instead of the initial six (06) months. The reasons put forward by the Contractor in requesting for the further extra time and state of affairs of the project led me to advise the Registrar of the GCE Board not to grant any further extension of time.  The Registrar of the GCE Board instead of taking a decision, advised the Contractor to report me to the Governor. The Governor invited us to his office for a meeting. After the meeting, the Governor had me taken for questioning by the Police for two (02) successive days,” Taka states.

In an attempt to get the GCE Board Registrar, Humphrey Ekema Monono’s comment on this allegation and others, The Post, on May 2, booked audience with him against Tuesday, May 6, at 10.30 am. But the Registrar reportedly travelled to Yaounde on the eve of the appointment; hence the comment would only be got on a subsequent date.

However, further to the issue of the Contractor requesting for extra time, Taka, in his memo titled; “COMPLAINT: The Governor Of The Southwest Region Had Me Locked Up In Police Cell On Tuesday, 15 April, 2014 For Refusing To Sign False Document,” states that: “There is a penalty clause in the Contract.”

He further states that: “When the Contractor submitted his bill No. 5 for verification, I requested, among other things, that he should take into account the clause for penalty. The Contractor failed to comply and had his bill paid.

“In July 2013, the Contractor submitted his bill No. 6 for verification. After verification, I returned the bill to the Contractor with comments for verification. The Contractor has never returned the bill. However, during one of my usual site inspections of works, one Mr. Nkeng Michael, who claimed to be the Proprietor of Chariot Company Ltd, assaulted me and took me hostage for not signing his bill. I called to complain to the Registrar of the GCE Board for protection, as provided for in the Contract between GCE Board and TA Engineers Company Ltd. The Police eventually came. To my greatest consternation, I was arrested and detained at the Police for having taken FCFA 3 million from Mr. Nkeng Michael on false pretence.” 

The Taka memo continues that: “Chariot Company Limited/NDOWECAM Enterprise was awarded two contracts running concurrently on the same site. The contracts references are: 

1) Contract No. 09/2012/GCEB/R of 4 June 2012 for the Construction of Block ‘A’ (GF+1) of the General Certificate of Education (GCE) Board Head Office Buildings. 

2) Contract No. 10/2012/GCEB/R of August 2012 for the Construction of the Fence, Drainage, Roadway System, Parking Lots, Green Lawns, Security Post, External Electrification, Platforms for Blocks ‘B’ and ‘C’ of the Head Office Building for the GCE Board in Buea.”

According to Taka, “Items of work worth over FCFA 32 million given in the bill of quantities of the first contract are repeated in the second contract. Most of the items of work have not been completed. What has even been executed does not conform to the contract specification.”

Taka notes in his memo that when he tried to discuss the issue with the GCE Board Registrar, he ended up being called up to the Police for questioning. “The Governor had instructed that I be arrested and detained for SABOTAGE.”

Taka claims that: “Coercing me to sign the false Provisional Reception Report was to ensure that the duplicated items of work are paid twice even though some of the work was not completed as some other items.”

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