18 Mar 2014

US may release millions on hold for Marshall Islands following report

5:31 am on 18 March 2014

The Marshall Islands government is reviewing a report on an investigation into construction practices in the country, which could result in the United States releasing millions of dollars of infrastructure funding.

An official in Majuro says a draft report on the Ministry of Public Works has been submitted to government officials for comment.

The report evaluates the bid system for projects funded through the Compact of Free Association, after the Public Works Minister, Hiroshi Yamamura, raised questions about his ministry's management of the work.

The US provides more than 10 million US dollars annually for infrastructure, but put it on hold after the allegations in 2012.

The current requirement of a 100 percent construction bond payment eliminates all but two of the largest contractors on island since smaller construction companies cannot afford the bond.

But the Secretary of Public Works, Wilbur Allen, says the government has received the draft copy of the report and the requirement may be lifted depending on the results.