Leaders in Masaka District have expressed concern over the increasing theft of fuel and construction materials for Nyendo-Bukakkata road works.
Mr Herman Ssentongo, the Resident District Commissioner, yesterday said the project contractor had reported to his office several cases of siphoned fuel, fearing that this might slow down the works.
This comes days after police recovered more than 1,700 litres of fuel worth Shs6.2m that had been siphoned from vehicles belonging to the construction company.
Mr Ssentogo also said road materials, including cement, stones and other metal tools went missing.
“We have been receiving numerous complaints from the contractor about theft of construction materials. We opened investigations with our security teams and arrested some suspects,” he said.
The Shs195b project was awarded to Hunan Road and Bridge Construction Group Company Limited, a Chinese company, and Arab Contractors, an Egyptian firm.
Mr Denis Kanakulya, the officer in charge of Nyendo Police Station, on Wednesday said they arrested four suspects who had 85 jerrycans of 20 litres of fuel and two cars in their hideout in Bukakkata Sub-county.
He said the suspects are being detained at Masaka Central police station as investigations continue.
Mr Kanakulya added that suspects connive with some workers at the site to steal equipment.
“Fighting thieves who are stealing construction materials will be much easier if all local leaders and residents join us. We need everybody on board if we are to register success,” he added.
Mr Alfred Tugume, the project manager, said despite the challenges, they are doing their best to complete the project on time.
“Stealing materials will affect the profitability of the contractor, but work has to continue. We urge them to generously guard the materials,” he said.
Progress of project
The works, which started in June last year, are expected to last two years. Mr Moses Kintu, the a land valuer at Uganda National Roads Authority, said they have so far compensated 98 per cent of the project affected persons.
“The remaining 2 per cent are either lacking required documents or making family disputes of land ownership,” he said.