Works on the Kampala flyover project are stalling due to unresolved compensation for land and government could be fined Shs1.8b ($500,000) per month for delaying the contractor.
The revelation was made yesterday by MPs on the Physical Infrastructure Committees while meeting officials from the Ugandan National Roads Authority (Unra) and Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) about the progress on the construction of the multi-billion Kampala Flyover.
Mr William Matovu, the head of land acquisition at Unra, told MPs that they have failed to secure land at Centenary Park where the flyover will pass, because KCCA has not resolved the compensation dispute with the sitting lease holders.
According to Unra, the proprietor of Nalongo Estates Ltd at Centenary Park, Ms Sarah Kizito and her husband Godfrey Nyakana, have refused to vacate the premises to pave way for the construction of the Kampala Flyover on account that their lease was extended and is still running. Mr Matovu said this will automatically delay the project.
This provoked MPs on the committee who wondered why the issue of Centenary Park has not yet been resolved for two years after Parliament recommended to KCCA not to renew Nyakana’s lease on the project route.
The committee chairperson, Mr Robert Ssekitoleko (Nakifuma County MP), said they have learnt that the delayed acquisition of the land will cost the government and taxpayers’ Shs1.8b per month in fines to the contractor for the delays.
“I am informed that any delays in this project will cost Uganda half a million dollars and I want to know if we are beginning to lose money. We just need to know what is happening,” Mr Ssekitoleko said. Mr Caleb Mugisha, the acting director of legal services at KCCA, said they extended Nyakana’s lease following the Memorandum of Understanding made by the Solicitor General’s office and the latter’s legal opinion, directing them to renew Nnalongo Estates tenure.
“Following various meetings and on instruction of President Museveni and the office of Solicitor General, a MoU was drafted and it was forwarded to us with a legal opinion of the Solicitor General that drew a conclusion to the effect that Nnalongo Estates leases should be extended in law because they are entitled to an extension,” Mr Mugisha submitted.
He said the Solicitor General also said Nnalongo Estates should thus be compensated by anyone who would want to take the land.
Mr Mugisha also indicated that KCCA’s earlier lease with the Nyakanas wasn’t renewed because Nnalongo Estates had breached the lease agreement that barred her from erecting permanent structures at Centenary Park.
In an interview with the media, Unra executive director Allen Kagina confirmed that if government delays to secure land for construction, it will pay a fine to the contractor.
She, however, said she was not sure of how much money the government has to pay in case of such delays.
Ms Kagina also said Unra has started Phase One of the construction with excavation works, clearing some sections and putting concrete works. Ms Kagina also said Phase Two has not yet started as it is under the procurement state but could delay due to land acquisition issues.
Ms Kagina said the Electoral Commission (EC) is also supposed to be evicted, but they will give them time to complete the 2021 elections.
Mr Samuel Muhoozi, the director for roads and bridges development in Unra, said the project is divided into two phases; Clock Tower Flyover and Nsambya Road and Phase II which is Kitgum House Flyover.
Mr Ssekitoleko said they will visit Centenary Park today and other areas where construction has started to establish what is on ground before they invite the Attorney General, Unra and KCCA again for further interrogation.
She also asked KCCA to bring documents from the President and the Solicitor General instructing them to extend the land lease for Nnalongo Estates.