Information Communication Technology minister John Nasasira has demanded his colleague Abraham Byandala to produce evidence linking him to the controversial award of the Shs165 billion contract for the construction of the Mukono-Katosi road to an American firm or publicly retract the statements.
Mr Nasasira, who was in 2011 dropped from the Works and Transport portfolio currently held by Mr Byandala, said he was “extremely concerned” and is “consulting” with his legal advisers to take appropriate action in case his colleague fails on the options given.
“I demand that you produce evidence to substantiate your above two allegations or publicly retract them and apologise to me,” Mr Nasasira wrote in an August 22 letter.
The contract to upgrade the road was purported to have been awarded to US-based Eutaw Construction Company, but when a Shs24.7 billion advance payment was made to the firm, the Finance ministry raised a red flag over the deal warning that it had fraudulently acquired it. Eutaw officials have since denied knowledge of this deal which triggered an inquiry.
The controversy deepened when last week, Mr Byandala, in an interview with The Observer newspaper, accused Mr Nasasira and minister for Presidency Frank Tumwebaze of working to oust him and quietly accelerating the uproar in the media.
“They want me out of office,” Mr Byandala is quoted as saying in the interview.
He claimed that Mr Nasasira, then as Works minister, visited Eutaw’s headquarters in the US after the company was evaluated as the best bidder.
However, Mr Nasasira in his statement said as a minister and in accordance with the PPDA Act, he was not directly involved in the tender processes.
“You took over the ministry while negotiations were continuing. I did not participate in your decisions and you should stop dragging my name into this (roads project saga),” Mr Nasasira wrote.
Mr Byandala was not available for comment yesterday as his known phone numbers went unanswered.
His political assistant, Mr Ismail Ssenyonga, however, told Daily Monitor that the minister was yet to receive Mr Nasasira’s missive.
“We shall respond when we get it. In the meantime, it is important to note that the issues around the Mukono-Katosi Road are under investigation by the Inspector General of Government and the police. Let us give these agencies time to do their work and we shall see their findings,” he said.
to be summoned
Meanwhile, Information Minister Rosemary Namayanja was quoted at the weekend saying ministers Tumwebaze, Nasasira and Byandala are due to appear before a cabinet disciplinary hearing chaired by Premier Amama Mbabazi over taking their spat into the public.
Minister Nasasira’s statement on Mukono-Katosi road saga
I have since mid this month followed your comments and responses on how the contractor for the Mukono-Kyetume - Katosi was procured. The procurement of this contractor is now under investigation by Police, Inspector General of Government and even the Parliamentary Committee of Infrastructure. It is now referred to by the some sections of media as “Road Fraud” “Road Scum” etc etc.
Your comments and responses were made at a workshop, before the Parliamentary committee of Infrastructure and in an interview with The Observer newspaper which was published on Wednesday, 20th August 2014 in their Vol. 9 Issue: 100. Your comments and responses were published in the print media, broadcasted by many radio stations and telecasted by many TV stations. They have been on Social Media as well.
I am extremely concerned at the false allegations you made about and against me in your comments and responses I refer to above.