Contractors under fire as government moves to implement UNRA probe report

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Allen Kagina was brought to curb corruption at UNRA

Government has moved to implement the Justice Bamugemereire Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) probe report even when the line Minister of Works has not presented a white paper to cabinet as is the norm.

“It is irregular but as Government we need to act and move things as the UNRA report discovered, that over four trillion (4 trillion shillings) meant for road works was swindled,” UNRA official said.

According to the report seen by this reporter which was handed over to the president, implicates politicians including ministers, Technocrats at UNRA and works Ministry, contractors and Consultants among others.

Allen Kagina was brought in to curb corruption at UNRA

Former Executive Director of UNRA Peter Ssebanakita is specifically sighted in the report for admitting favouring Energo Project in the UGX 165bn construction of the Deal Kawempe – Kafu Road, designed to connect the northern corridor to South Sudan.

“Confessed Ssebanakita have directed the contracts committee to select Energo Project as the winner of the contract.

In a letter he wrote to them dated 10th February 2010, by giving them one option to select Energo, which tantamount to abuse of office” an official at the Ministry on condition of anonymity said.

In a blame game to hide his identity for any wrong doing, Ssebanakitta admitted signing for double payments for Energo project but quickly blamed his Juniors for the mess.

In addition, ten (10 contractors) had bided for the Kafu – Kawempe Road but in their recommendations, the contracts’ committee had dust binned Energo Project company for having presented the same human resource and equipment for three different projects, and as a result brought about future variation of prices for the Kafu- Kawempe Road Asphalt overlay project.

“UNRA bosses for one reason or another went ahead and did several contracts price variations by adjusting the amount in the contracts and ended up paying  Energo Shs 11.3bn, Shs. 2.2 bn and 862m for different pieces of work completed along same section but within 18 months contracts period” One member of the probe team revealed.

As if that was not bad enough UNRA, Management the probe reported, approved UGX 30 billion to Energo project to stabilize what they referred to as inflation of Uganda shillings which was abnormal.

Mr. Bruno Musoke was reportedly a point man between management of Energo project and UNRA Officials the report revealed.

Project supervisor Aurecon, Project Manager Bruno Musoke, David Luyimbazi and EnergO project must refund the money which they refer to as nugatory expenditures, by the Auditor General.

Relatedly the Kawempe – Kafu Road has emptied Ugandan tax payers’ pockets of a total of over 210 bn shillings whose construction process began way back in 2005, and by 2007-8, the same Road Engineers reported that the road had started developing cracks and portholes.

Mr. Milivoje Milisavjevic, the Serbian Company Managing Director has on several occasions blamed the South African Consultant Aurecon Amei for any wrong doing.

“We as contractors do work on the specifications given to us by the consultants and produced evidence of the three addendum that were signed. “This is abnormal how can a project meant to be completed in eighteen months at a total cost of UGX 28bn, take over 10 years and a cost of over 250 bn shillings on top of working under a direct bidding and expired contract.

The Solicitor General in a heat of anger said that the Kawempe – Kafu and Kafu-Kiryandongo Road stretch was illegal and not authorized by his office.

Mr. Gashirabake Christopher said construction work by ENERGO Project, and Consultancy by Aurecon Amei were on site then illegally.

Dott Services and Energo, project the probe report recommends for punitive measures to be taken against them ranging from being blacklisted to refunding the money obtained illegally.

The report further recommends that their funders World Bank, IMF, IDA and European Union will in future become reluctant in funding infrastructure projects in Uganda if punitive actions are not taken to redress the misconduct and in ethical practices these contractors have developed. Notwithstanding the huge financial loss cause to the nation as well as delay in infrastructural development.

It sighted that Uganda losses billions of shilling annually to dubious deals between contractors, technocrats and consultants. And no punitive action is taken to address the loss or even stop the vice.

The current UNRA Boss Allen Kagina said UNRA has put strict measures to tackle misconduct, unethical practices and shoddily work by contractors. And has adopted a no tolerant regulations against perpetrators.

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