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Fans installation sparks probe.

AN inquiry was launched yesterday after 50 electric fans surfaced at the Manama Central Market without the knowledge of councillors.

The Manama Municipal Council at its meeting yesterday refused to pay the cheque worth BD8,925 to Hejair Group that had installed the fans.

They say that the installation was not given the go ahead by the Manama Municipality's tenders assessment committee.

The committee originally selected Al Shula Curtains, Canopies and Decoration Materials for the job to instal 24 fans in addition to an electronic operating timed system at a cost of BD9,981, according to councillors.

It had asked the company to first instal a sample fan in the market for testing, they added.

Councillors claim that when Al Shula workers were prepared to instal the sample fan they were shocked to see that another company had already installed 50 others.

"The bill was not signed by the person in charge of the market, just has a stamp from the municipality's property maintenance section," said council chairman Majeed Millad Al Jazeeri.

"Al Shula was originally selected because the two other competitors would have purchased the fans from it since it is the sole distributor, but suddenly the job was given to Hejair without any explanation.

"Now it seems that a number of the fans are out of service and market officials are throwing blame at each other without anything being done to have them fixed."

Council vice-chairman Mohammed Mansoor said that councillors' duty was to protect public money from being squandered.

"There has been an administrative bypass of municipal administrative and financial procedures that has led to below standard fans being installed in the market," he said.

"Yes we have double the number of fans required installed, but it has cost us more than Hejair's bill, considering that an electricity and water installation company was hired to do connection work for BD1,200."

Mr Mansoor, who is also the council's financial, administrative and legislative committee chairman, said that Hejair company could get some of the money owed by the municipality, but not all.

"I am not a technical expert and this is why a technical inspection has to be carried. Its report will be submitted for me to recommend action on what to do with Hejair's bill," he said.

"To be honest, the fans installed are below standards.

"However, it is possible that they may have been installed according to other standards asked by the municipality and that will be uncovered through an urgent inquiry into the case in addition to investigating those involved."

Area councillor Sadiq Rahma accused the municipality of giving the contract to Hejair, which has hugely affected market merchants.

"The fans installed are not operated through an electronic timed system and merchants have to use chairs to reach the switch," he said.

"Each fan has a toilet-like flushing tank string that has to be pulled every 10 minutes for water to be sprayed instead of an automatic system."

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:Mar 10, 2011
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