Cuban executives’ negligence costs government millions
HAVANA, Cuba, Thursday October 20, 2011 - Negligence in the construction of a water treatment plant in Santiago de Cuba has squandered the US$83 million and the same amount in Cuban pesos sourced by the Cuban government to need to rehabilitate the entire aqueduct.
After a trial in the People's Court, 11 of the responsible executives have been sentenced to pay a 179,000 Cuban pesos fine, 17,350 apiece, and banned from working in their professions for a year, given that there was as aggravating circumstance as the utility works were highly prioritized due to their implications for the economic and social development of the country.
According to state newspaper Granma, the Quintero-1 water treatment plant, in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba, was in need of rehabilitation to address the “chaotic” situation faced in trying to supply water to the half-a-million inhabitants of the city.
The necessary works included the laying of pipes, distribution nets, and the construction of the infrastructure needed to supply water to every house, industry and facility in the city, and it was expected that two water treatment plants would process some 2,500 litres per second once the works were finished.
Cuban president Raul Castro had high hopes for the major project, saying that this work would lay the foundations to restore other aqueducts throughout the country, stabilize the water supply and eliminate undue waste.
The Santiago de Cuba Water Resources Department received the monies for the investment and signed a management, supervision and comprehensive technical control contract with the Engineering Services Enterprise of the city.
The Villa Clara Research and Water Projects Enterprise was hired to do the design and the construction project was granted to the Santiago de Cuba 11th Civil Engineering Enterprise.
All the executives of these enterprises were supposed to meet on regular basis to analyse the developments of the various stages of the construction. However, plans reportedly fell into disarray after indiscipline, organizational errors, lack of control and other irresponsible behaviour, affected the development, quality and rational use of resources in the relevant processes.
A string of unfortunate incidents ensued, including a breach of the rules and regulations in the rehabilitation works that would ensure the quality of water consumed by the population, which ultimately resulted in severe damages to the filter installation.
Now, on top of their various fines and penalties, the guilty executives will also face two other processes for the crime of Breach of Obligations in economic entities as the city moves to establish who is responsible for similar violations in the technical requirements by investors, designers and builders of the Santiago de Cuba aqueduct.
This wide ranging investigation is targeting builders, investors, technical specialists, project managers, engineers, and anyone else who the city suspects did not fulfil their management, advice and technical control responsibilities.
These two processes remain pending for trial in the courts, and in all cases both the accused and the prosecutor have the right to appeal the sanctions to a higher court.