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Comm Games cheque is not in the mail
Vincent Morello
18:03 AEST Wed Feb 2 2011

Australian suppliers to the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi are still to receive millions of dollars in outstanding payments even though Indian officials say they are clearing the books.

The Delhi games, which ended in mid-October, were plagued by late and dodgy venue construction, allegations of corruption and the sacking of top officials.

The Organising Committee (OC) for the games said on Tuesday night that 36 overseas vendors had been paid a total of $A25 million in the last week of January.

But final payment to another nine vendors, including opening ceremonies guru Rich Birch, had been withheld "because of non-performance of the contracts", the OC said in a statement.

Howard and Sons pyrotechnics firm, which for months had been unable to reach anyone from the OC by telephone, said it had received an email on Friday saying some of the money owed to it would be paid.

"They have not explained their reasons for slow payment and they have said in an email that they will be making a payment to us," company boss Andrew Howard told AAP on Wednesday.

"They owe us $300,000 and they're saying they're going to pay us something like $149,000."

Pyrotechnic equipment belonging to Howard was held up in India for months but was now finally on its way back to Australia.

Mr Howard said the delays have cost him another $300,000 and has asked the OC to pay.

"I'm sure I'll never receive it," he said.

Major event sound company Norwest Productions is owed $57,000 and wants the OC to pay another $960,000 associated with lost rental fees on its equipment delayed in India until early January.

"We've had lots of promises that they have paid (the $57,000)," Norwest chairman Chris Kennedy told AAP on Wednesday.

"They've sent us documentation which seems to indicate that they've given instructions to the bank but six days later and no money is in our account."

"They've given us a shonky-looking letter with a lot of signatureson it but whether that's even gone to the bank, who will ever know until the money turns up."

Mr Birch's Spectak Productions is owed $350,000, which the OC said represents the final 15 per cent of the contracted amount.

In late January, the OC claimed Mr Birch had departed India before "the crucial juncture of the final preparations for the closing ceremony".

"And there have been instances of incorrect advise (sic) that cost the Organising Committee time and resources," it said in a statement.

Mr Birch said this week the claims were unfounded.

"The organisers are saying we are non-performers and that is the end of it," Mr Birch told Reuters.

"There is, of course, no evidence put forward as to what we have not performed. It is just another excuse not to pay."

The Australian Commonwealth Games Association (ACGA) is owed more that $200,000 in travel subsidies.

"They certainly haven't paid us," ACGA chief executive Perry Crosswhite told AAP.

"We checked our bank account this morning and we had not received the money."

Similar organisations from the 70 participating countries have suffered similar delays in payments, totalling $A3.64 million.

The latest statement from the OC said 90 per cent of the money owed had been paid and that the remaining amounts will be paid by February 7.

Many of the top officials from the OC, including controversial figure Suresh Kalmadi, have recently been sacked by the Indian government.