Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Corruption-Do Uganda's roads need a check ?

Northern by pass was to be opened in Nov 2006; CHOGM roads were a disaster but even before that there was a problem of Shoddy constructions of Kibuye-Busega and Nakulabye-Nansana roads;

Official documents obtained reveals how Government Ministers and high-ranking officials consistently violated procurement regulations when they awarded Ms. Zimwe Enterprise, Hardware and Construction ltd a contract of approximately Ug. Shs. 5.3 billion for the rehabilitation of Kibuye-Busega and Nakulabye-Nansana roads.

The entire 11.5 km road construction project was supposed to take six months, but is still not completed after three years of ongoing construction, and the price tag have since swollen to approximately Ug. Shs 9 billion.

Right from the beginning, the road project was marred with irregularities. In January 2005 Hon. Kutesa, the then Minister for State for Finance, wrote a letter to the Minister of Works –Hon J. Nasasira requesting him to give Ms. Zimwe Constructions the contract. By doing so, the Minister bypassed the Ugandan Investment Authority and ignored procurement regulations.

If the government prefers to avoid the use of an open tendering it must seek clearance from The Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA).

In this case, official documents show that the Awarding letter was issued to Ms Zimwe Constructions BEFORE an application for direct procurement was even sent to the Contracts Committee or the PPDA.

When PPDA eventually accepted the use of direct procurement, it was under the strict conditions that the Ministry of Works would carefully monitor every aspect of the construction project. Considering the vast overspending and delays it is seriously questioned if these requirements were met.

Another disturbing finding is the government’s decision to pay Ms. Zimwe Constructions an extra Ug. Shs. 3.7 billion, presumably meant to cover an extra cost as a result of “project prolongation”. This claim seems not only very high, but also very unusual.

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