PPDA orders fresh bids as row rocks IGG Tower

Monday December 10 2018

Head. Inspector General of Government Irene

Head. Inspector General of Government Irene Mulyagonja. FILE PHOTO 


Kampala. The Inspectorate of Government’s (IG) office is in the spotlight for alleged corruption in the procurement of a contractor for the multibillion shillings tower to house the inspectorate headquarters.
The Inspector General of Government (IGG) office, which has been renting on Parliamentary Avenue, is set to construct a tower worth over Shs100b for its headquarters on Clement Hill Road in Nakasero, Kampala.
However, the procurement process, which started in March this year, has run into controversy over reports that the IGG internal procurement and disposal unit and the contracts committee awarded the construction deal to an unqualified contractor.
The alleged irregularity triggered an investigation by the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA). About three months ago, the PPDA appeals tribunal cancelled the procurement and ordered a fresh bidding process.
The PPDA found the IGG’s internal Procurement and Disposal Unit (PDU) and Contracts Committee had awarded the deal to a joint venture of Roko Construction and Roko Construction (Rwanda) which had not met the requirements specified for the bidding.
The petition to PPDA was filed by Seyani Brothers & Co. (U) Ltd and Parbat Siyani Construction who were among the bidders who were eliminated at the evaluation stage.
Other bidders who lost are China National Aero-Technology International Engineering Corporation.
The PPDA found that Roko Construction Ltd and Roko Construction (Rwanda) Ltd had not constructed two 15-storey buildings each worth at least Shs90b in the previous five years as had been required in the bid invitation documents. The joint venture also did not have the Shs20b minimum cash on its bank account to prove its financial soundness as per the specified conditions for the bid.
When PPDA cancelled the contract, instead of the IGG office kicking out Roko and reevaluating the bidders who had already qualified, it issued another invitation for fresh bids on October 31. The new process attracted seven bidders including the five who had qualified in the previous bidding.
On November 5, a whistleblower petitioned the PPDA stating the PDU of the IGG office had instead revised the stringent requirements of having built a tower of least 15 floors and having Shs20b cash on bank account. Under the relaxed terms, Roko qualified for the bidding.
“The previous bid document required the past projects quoted as similar experience to be within the last five years but the new requirements is now fraudulently lengthened to projects (completed) with the last seven years,” the whistle blower claimed.
“We appeal that this syndicated collusive scheme be broken. We are aware that the bid document has not been issued. Therefore these unfair requirements meant to facilitate a corrupt practice should be amended,” the whistle blower stated.
Daily Monitor has seen the earlier bidding document and the new one. The original requirement for accomplishment of two 15-storey buildings in the last five years was revised to seven years while the requirement for each building to be at least worth Shs90b and the Shs20b cash balance on bank account were abandoned in the new bid document.
The IGG spokesperson, Ms Munira Ali, confirmed a fresh procurement process has commenced after the PPDA appeals tribunal cancelled the previous one.
She also confirmed the change of terms in the bid requirements but said it was to open up the competition for more bidders.
“The law does not stop anyone procuring a project from changing the requirements when calling for new bids. This is a fresh process and there is nothing wrong with making changes to attract more bidders,” Ms Munira argued.
The PPDA regulations provide that the lowest bidder will be awarded a contract to accomplish any government project as long as he or she meets the qualifications.
On December 6 people calling themselves IGG also staff petitioned PPDA alleging Inspectorate’s Permanent Secretary Rose Kafeero had directed that the contract be awarded to Roko despite being the third lowest evaluated bidder.
“We took part in the evaluation of the of bids but the PS, in company of the head of procurement and the chairperson of the contracts committee, summoned us in her office and told us... as we leave for evaluation we should ensure that the contract is awarded to Roko,” the whistleblowers claim in the letter to PPDA Executive Director Mr Benson Turamye.
However, Ms Kafeero dismissed the claims and challenged the whistle-blowers to prove she ordered the contract to be awarded to Roko.