MP wants IGG to stop probe into Karuma power project
Posted Sunday, February 3 2013 at 00:00
The Kabale Municipality legislator says the IGG investigation into the Karuma dam deal would delay the project and make Ugandans wait longer for stable electricity.
The Kabale Municipality MP has written to the IGG, advising her to consider dropping her investigations into the procurement procedure of Karuma dam.
MP Andrew Baryayanga wrote to Lady Justice Irene Mulyagonja on January 31, saying the inquiry is going to cause delay in the dam project and worsen shortage of a needed resource - electricity.
“I invite you to consider dropping the intended investigation because it’s contrary to the law, has been instigated in bad faith by well known influence peddlers in town, is unnecessary and will be futile,” Mr Baryayanga says.
He added: “If any interventions are to be made by anyone, they must be based on credible information and should be weighed against the wider interests of the country because anything that will unnecessarily delay the commencement of the project further must be discouraged and avoided.”
The MP’s letter comes days after government reportedly awarded China International Water & Electric Corporation (CWE) the deal to construct the multi-billion Karuma Hydropower Dam.
The award, already facing a probe from the IGG, follows two years of protracted legal battles that witnessed several cancellations, injunctions, investigations and a repeat of the technical evaluation processes.
On the day bids were opened and won from the Ministry of Energy boardroom, Ms Mulyagonja wrote to the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, citing allegations that some officials had been compromised by one of the six bidding firms.
When the bid was opened, available information indicates that CWE offered $1.4 billion (Shs3.4 trillion) for engineering, procurement and construction of the 600MW dam.
The total project cost is estimated at $2.2 billion (Shs5.9 trillion).
The IGG had in a last-minute attempt to stop the awarding of the contract written:“It is therefore hereby ordered that the ministry…do halt any further action in the procurement of a contractor for the Karuma Hydropower Project, including the award of a contract to the best evaluated bidder.”
Eng. Kabagambe Kalisa, the Energy PS, said the natural thing to do when the IGG issues such an order is to halt the process, “but since I am on leave, please contact the director Energy to get the current state of affairs”.
Eng. Chris Mubiru, the director and acting PS in the ministry, did not offer any information but only said he was in a meeting with his minister.
To Mr Baryayanga, however, the bribery and compromise allegations are not new, saying a whistle blower made a similar complaint to the IGG last year and that after investigations, the CIID found them “holding no water.”
“Why engage in a futile exercise? Is it true that the State is now helpless in the face of private interests and machinations?” he asks.
The IGG spokesperson, Ms Ali Munira, said the Inspectorate had received the MP’s petition but said it would not halt investigations already instituted.