Senegal – Adama Bictogo: controversy around the construction site of the University of Diamniadio

Adama Bictogo, boss of SNEDAI group

Has the construction site of Amadou Moctar Mbow University in Diamniadio been removed from the Ivorian group SNEDAI led by Adama Bictogo? The Senegalese press reported that the contract was withdrawn at the request of President Macky Sall because of the delay in the project.

The university, presented as a pole of excellence to host 30,000 students and which was to open last October is indeed still under construction; the project progress is estimated at 35% after about two years of work.

Questioned by the Ivorian press on January 18 during a ceremony of presentation of greetings, Adama Bictogo, the head of SNEDAI whose subsidiary Marilys BTP leads the consortium charged with executing the project, denounced « an erroneous information published by the newspaper (Senegalese, editor’s note) Libération « .

He argued that « no notification » from the Senegalese government had served on him in the sense of a termination, citing additional costs to explain the delay on the site.

Indeed, the businessman and Ivorian politician said that after winning the contract, following a call for tenders 2 years ago, it was found that the nature of the soil that was to to support the foundations of the buildings was other than what had been planned in the original project.

« (…) we had to face a clay soil. Naturally to build a university, it was necessary to make more solid foundations. From 2 billion FCFA (3.05 million euros, ed) we moved to foundations that cost us 15 billion FCFA (22.9 million euros, ed). So there was an extra cost. So we took it upon ourselves to redo the study. In carrying out the study, we realized that the project was undervalued, « he said.

An additional cost that the group took on him to support while waiting to find an agreement with the Senegalese government for the management of this unexpected.

State of progress of work in July 2018 – according to the website of the Senegalese Ministry of Higher Education

« In June, I met with the Senegalese authorities, the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Higher Education to tell them that the project is undervalued and that it is difficult for us to continue building the building. university that was originally planned for 128,000 m2 and we find ourselves building 250 000m², an increase of 50% of surface to build, « he explained.

According to him, the Senegalese authorities admitted that the project was undervalued and while they were seized by « at least 10 letters to floor on the revaluation of the market », no continuation has yet been given .

« (…) we have introduced a letter of reassessment and for the moment, the State has not yet answered us, » he adds. Therefore, we can not continue to inject a lot of money into this project. (…) We are not responsible for any failure. It can have a shared responsibility by both parties. (…). The buildings that are under our responsibility, we will finish them but on the basis of the revalued price.

« So for the time being, we are on the building site, » he assured.

On the possibility of withdrawal from the market, Adama Bictogo stresses that the agreement signed with the Senegalese government provides for specific provisions and that it agreed that in case of dispute, the « Paris court » arbitration would be sought.

This case is reminiscent of a first dispute that the Ivorian boss had two years ago with the Senegalese government about the biometric passport publishing market entrusted to SNEDAI. A market that had finally been terminated and that had cost a fortune in Senegal. The latter had indeed had to pay a whopping 12 billion FCFA to the group for damages and interest.

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