CAA abandons project after spending Shs3.7b

A graphic illustration of how the new security search park at Entebbe International Airport is expected to look.  PHOTO/COURTESY. 

What you need to know:

  • The Auditor General says that whereas Uganda Civil Aviation Authority paid for the construction of a security search park, shelter and a road at Entebbe International Airport, the site has remained abandoned and unfinished since 2014.

Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) abandoned a project in which it had sought to enhance efficiency and service provision after spending Shs3.7b.  

The revelations drawn from the Auditor General’s report indicate that UCAA, with mandate over Uganda’s aviation space, abandoned a project that had been contracted to IBB International. 

“The Authority undertook works for a security search park, shelter and road at Entebbe International Airport, executed by IBB International at a contract price of Shs4.7b,” Auditor General John Muwanga, said, noting the project was first committed in the 2013/14 financial year but has since remained dormant and unfinished to date.

“The project, which was first committed in 2013/14 remained incomplete and dormant despite expenditure of Shs3.7b,” Mr Muwanga said.  
However, information from the Authority’s website indicates that UCAA handed over the project site to IBB International Limited, the project contractor for construction of a new security search rark and road at Entebbe International Airport, on October 31, 2018.

The project site is located between Protea Hotel and UCAA offices on the road to Entebbe International Airport. 
 Mr Emmanuel Byaruhanga, who was speaking on behalf of the contractor then, said the company would endeavor to accomplish the project within the stipulated timeline. 

The project, UCAA had written, was to be undertaken in six months from the date of commencement of November 1, 2018. 
It sought to create additional road lanes on top of the current two lanes to the airport to make a total of four lanes covering an area of about 450 metres. 

The park was to be a covered area with appropriate shelter for the security search team, motorists and people entering the airport.

On completion of the project, the security search point at the airport gate used by the Aviation Police, would be relocated to the new site.

According to UCAA, the project was expected to enhance efficiency and service provision as the four lanes would decongest the area and enable faster movement of traffic into the airport.

The matter of the park was contentious as it awakened a court case in 2017 in which IBB International sued government for inhibiting its execution of the contract. 
The contractor won the case in a judgement delivered by Judge Lydia Mugambe then.

However , Mr Vianney Luggya, the spokesperson UCAA, at the weekend told Daily Monitor that the phase of construction of the security search park, shelter and road had since been completed and now in the defects liability period. 

“The indicated project cost didn’t cover equipping the facility with security equipment and other auxiliary systems for which the Authority is currently mobilising funding in order for the total completion of the project to be accomplished,” he said.

Other audit concerns                                
The Auditor General also highlighted a plethora of audit concerns arising from UCCA. For example, the report also revealed that the Authority advanced Shs693.9m to staff to undertake various activities.                                                    

However, the funds remained unaccounted for and the Auditor General was unable to ascertain whether the funds were spent on the intended activities. 

Mr Luggya, at the weekend told Daily Monitor  that “By June 2020, some of the accountable funds advanced to staff for various activities, including official travel, had not been fully accounted for as a result of the lockdown that started in March 2020 affecting several staff who were not accessing office during that period. As soon as business resumed, all the funds were duly accounted for to zero balance.”                                                                                

Revenue from advertising                                                                                            
The UCCA also has numerous uncollected debt from rent and advertising. For instance, the Auditor General indicated that Prime Media Advertising Agency’s outstanding balance payable to UCAA from advertising space increased by Shs749m to Shs4.5b by June 30 2020.
Rent arrears                                                         In addition, Shs93.3b was outstanding in arrears of unremitted rental space with eleven government arrears for over two years. 
While the government bodies were not revealed in the report, it was also noted that UCAA did not have any tenancy agreements specifying the terms and conditions of tenancy.
                                                                                                                                                            Trade receivables
UCAA had outstanding trade receivables amounting to Shs143.8b of which 69 per cent had exceeded 90 days and provisions had been made for them.

Procurement guidelines                      

The UCCA was also found to be flouting procurement guidelines after paying out Shs3 trillion to several suppliers using direct procurement method instead of open bidding.                                                                                                                                         
Fuel concessions  

UCAA did not have any concession agreements with fuel operators Vivo Energy, Total Limited and Mogas when they provided jet fuel to the aircrafts for which the Authority charges 5 cents per US gallon uplifted.