President Silanyo lays the foundation stone for Egal international airport upgrade on Sunday, 27 May, 2012.

HARGEISA — Egal international airport has been closed for more than a week for renovation works but officials and neighborhood residents complain that no work has been done – forcing many passengers to Berbera airport for no reason.

President Ahmed Silanyo laid the foundation stone for the upgrade and renovation project last Sunday but local residents who checked the airport every day for the past week said they saw no work going on.

The airport was handed over jointly by President Silanyo and the minister of aviation Mohamud Hashi Abdi to China Hono Group, the company the government awarded with the tender in February of this year. Since the commissioning of the work a report has emerged that the bidding winner was not a construction company with the necessary credentials to undertake such project.

China Hono Group is a mining company based in China with small team in Somaliland whose members are alleged to have links with President Silanyo and ruling Kulmiye party.

The former Deputy Minister for Commerce Abdulrahman Yusuf Ismail acknowledged the residents complaints and called on the government to be more transparent.

He urged the government to review its decision and reiterated that it was important to award a company capable of doing the job. He added it was hard to tolerate the level of nepotism, controversy, corruption and darkness surrounding the tender.

“There are news widely circulating that the tender winner has no equipment. They are going to the Somaliland road authority requesting bulldozers and similar equipment,” Mr. Ismail told Hadhwanaagnews Paper.

“My suggestion for the government is to be aware and award a company capable of building beautiful airport,” he advised.

Ahmed Jama Isse, a local resident not far from the airport reechoed the general concern from some of the people in the airport neighborhood.

“It would be fine if there was actually work going on,” said Ahmed. “But there’s no work going on. I see no reason why it should be closed and traffic be diverted to Berbera airport which is 160 km away.”

The $5.61 million makeover includes renovation works on the runways, adding a fence and security systems including surveillance. The fund was donated by the government of Kuwait and totals $10 million – the rest will be spent on Berbera airport.

Somalilandpress

June 4, 2012