Montenegrin watchdogs have referred to as on authorities to current the precise value of the Bar-Boljare freeway’s first part, and examine suspected corruption.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Dritan Abazovic opened the primary part of the freeway, seven years after the Chinese language-financed mission began and drove up Montenegro’s public debt to 90.85 per cent of GDP.
The Bar-Boljare freeway represents the Montenegrin leg of a bigger freeway that can run from the Adriatic coast to the Serbian capital, Belgrade.
Dejan Milovac, from the distinguished watchdog MANS, mentioned the mission was not clear from the beginning, calling on the federal government to reveal the exact prices of the primary part.
“Though the primary part is lastly completed, after nearly seven years, we nonetheless should not have detailed and dependable data on how a lot the mission value and what the explanations for the delays have been. We’re additionally not knowledgeable whether or not the state adequately protected the general public curiosity within the cope with the Chinese language traders,” Milovac informed BIRN.
“There was lots of room for corruption, and authorities ought to current details about the financing of the freeway,” he added.
The primary 41-kilometer-long part was constructed by the Chinese language Highway and Bridge Company, CRBC. It was 85-per-cent financed by a $810-million-loan from China’s Exim Financial institution.
In 2018, CRBC requested for one more 115 million euros for subsequent works in addition to the development of a water provide and electrical energy community on the freeway, which weren’t precised within the contract.
The primary part was to complete by November 2019. however completion was delayed thrice attributable to technical points and the COVID-19 pandemic.
On July 7, Minister of Finance Aleksandar Damjanovic mentioned the mission was carried out with out parliamentary management, stressing that the full prices of the primary part might be as a lot as 1.2 billion euros.
“I’m keen to rethink some features of the mission. We are going to know the way a lot the primary part value our state price range, however we are able to by no means know if we needed to spend that a lot,” Damjanovic informed tv Vijesti.
Final November, the Ministry of Capital Investments printed two beforehand confidential worldwide feasibility research, which advised that the estimated value of constructing the primary part of the Bar-Boljare freeway had been exaggerated.
A feasibility examine by URS Infrastructure and Surroundings, a British engineering consultancy, mentioned the primary part of the freeway ought to value $803 million euros. One other examine by one other British consultancy, Scott Wilson Group, mentioned it ought to value $570 million.
The research have been carried out in 2009 and 2012, however the earlier authorities, which launched the freeway mission, had categorized them as confidential.
The EU additionally has considerations in regards to the freeway’s prices. In final 12 months’s progress report, the European Fee famous that Montenegro had utilized for co-financing for the development of the second part of the freeway below the Western Balkans Funding Framework.
“Nevertheless, the appliance is on maintain pending the finalization of the EU-financed cost-benefit evaluation for your entire Bar-Boljare freeway, together with on really helpful building requirements and advised technique of financing for the remaining sections,” the report mentioned.