Bicycle deal came through the backdoor, says witness
Posted Thursday, January 17 2013 at 02:50
A PPDA lawyer tells court how the the Local Government ministry flouted the procurement rules to award the tender to an Indian firm.
A legal officer yesterday informed a court that the firm awarded a multi-billion contract to supply 70,000 bicycles to be used by chairpersons LC I, was not originally on the solicitation document but somehow ended up being awarded the contract.
The case involves the interdicted Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government, Mr John Muhanguzi Kashaka, and five others who stand accused of abusing their offices by allegedly signing a contract with Amman Industrial Tools and Equipment Ltd (Aitel) for delivery of bicycles without contacting the contracts committee.
Mr Othman Sseggawa, the legal and advisory counsel from the office of Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA), in his testimony, faulted the entire bidding process by the Local Government ministry that awarded the contract to the Indian firm.
“The record of issue of fulfillment document did not contain Aitel as one of the bidders,” said Mr Sseggawa, adding, “it’s questionable on how Aitel got the bidding documents and initially, it did not have them.”
Mr Sseggawa informed the Anti Corruption Court presided over by Justice Catherine Bamugemireire that in 2011, the executive director PPDA, Mr Cornelia Sabiiti, assigned him, with two others, to ascertain whether the procurement was done according to PPDA rules.
He said investigations were prompted by media reports and a Parliamentary probe into the undelivered bicycles and yet a part payment was made.
Mr Sseggawa, who was the seventh prosecution witness, also told court that at the end of his investigations that also involved interviewing the then PS, Mr Kashaka, he came up with a report which he shared with the executive director PPDA.
The witness said some of his findings included; the evaluation committee not adhering to the evaluation criteria that was in the bidding document, the contract that had been signed being different from the one approved by contracts committee, among others.