IGG orders Chinese firm off Katosi road

Tuesday November 4 2014

Irene Mulyagonja

Irene Mulyagonja 

By FREDERIC MUSISI

KAMPALA- The Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA), has said it has commenced a new tendering process for a contractor for the Mukono-Katosi road following recommendations by the deputy Attorney General and a partial report of investigations by the Inspector General of Government.

UNRA’s head of corporate communications Dan Alinange told Daily Monitor yesterday, that companies had already picked bid documents to undertake works on the 74km road project which has been marred with procurement flaws and mismanagement.

“We expect the companies to report back next week, and thereafter [we] shall start evaluations,” Mr Alinange said.

IGG Irene Mulyagonja, in a partial report issued yesterday on investigation over the alleged mismanagement of the project directed UNRA to blacklist CICO, a Chinese firm from the new tendering process.

CICO had already started preliminary works on the road, having been sub-contracted by Eutaw Constructions Ltd, which won the original contract. But the IGG ordered the company to halt works, saying its involvement had been done so after colluding with Ms Eutaw, the controversial American company that was initially awarded the contract. The Chinese company has also been ordered to vacate the roads site.

Eutaw had already received an upfront payment of Shs24.8b from UNRA, and advanced Shs12b to CICO.

“This is therefore to order and direct the accounting officer at UNRA and the UNRA Procurement and Disposal Unit not to entertain any bid by CICO for the works for Upgrading Mukono-Kyetume-Katosi/Kisoga-Nyenga road in the recommended new procurement,” the report reads in part.

The IGG further noted that there was “a high level of collusion between CICO and EUTAW in the transactions that led” to the latter defrauding government of substantial amounts of money.

She also directed that no further payments should be made to both companies-Eutaw and CICO-until the investigations are concluded.

State minister for Works John Byabagambi in a September 29 letter, had argued for a way to be found to grant CICO “amnesty” so that it could complete the work in order to save time and money.

Mr Byabagambi preferred an emergency procurement to award CICO the contract, fearing that sourcing for another company would take longer and probably cost more money.

This idea was, however, shot down by Deputy Attorney General Freddie Ruhindi, who argued that it was illegal and recommended for a fresh tendering process.

The police have since opened investigations into the matter, questioned officials from Eutaw, UNRA and several local insurance companies which issued bonds that were used as collateral to receive payments from government.

The total cost of the project was Shs165 billion. The deal has also since led to the suspension of top UNRA managers.

The accused company

CICO, which is also under police investigation for suspected collusion with Eutaw, had pleaded with Eng. John Byabagambi, to enter into a “a conditional sub-contract” with UNRA to complete the works, citing fears to suffer huge financial losses if the contract is cancelled.

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