The Inspector General of Government (IGG), Ms Beti Olive Kamya, has directed the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) executive director, Ms Dorothy Kisaka, to cancel the procurement process for the Lot Four road project over bribery claims.
In a July 28 letter to Ms Kisaka, a copy of which Daily Monitor has seen, the Ombudsman also directed the KCCA contracts committee with the approval of the accounting officer to appoint a new evaluation committee for Lot Four.
“You should subject Mr Galimaka Godfrey Katerega, the manager revenue accounting and chairperson of the evaluation committee for the botched evaluation process of Lot Four together with Mr Ivan Kirya, supervisor financial reporting and acting manager management accounting to disciplinary process and protocols on grounds of their involvement in a corrupt and collusive practice,” the IGG wrote.
Ms Kisaka is also supposed to inform the IGG of the actions taken in implementing the directives within 60 days from the date of the letter.
The letter is also copied to the Minister for Kampala City and Metropolitan Affairs, Ms Minsa Kabanda, and the country manager African Development Bank (AfDB), Mr Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan.
The Inspectorate of Government’s (IG) manager of strategic partnerships and public relations, Ms Munira Ali, confirmed to Daily Monitor the IGG’s directive to the KCCA’s executive director.
“The IGG wrote to the KCCA executive director following a complaint that she received involving bribery of the evaluation committee and she directed that the process be cancelled and started afresh. The IGG also directed that disciplinary action against the two implicated senior officials should be taken,” Ms Munira said.
She said the Inspectorate will be waiting for feedback from Ms Kisaka on the action taken after 60 days.
Ms Kisaka confirmed receipt of the IGG’s letter to Daily Monitor yesterday and said she has accordingly informed the AfDB since it has its own rules and regulations that fall under such contracts.
She also said she has already informed the IGG on the steps being taken to implement her directives.
“We have implemented the disciplinary mechanism within the institution. We have the rewards and sanctions committee that deals with all issues of that kind. KCCA has a zero tolerance to corruption and we don’t condone any corrupt acts. So the disciplinary committee has given the two officials letters and that process should be completed within the next few days,” Ms Kisaka said.
Asked how the IGG’s directive will affect the entire process, she said the project has five lots and that each one of them is independent.
‘’As an agency, we have to get this message back to the AfDB so that it takes the next action if they feel like what happened completely corrupted the integrity of the process and can then guide us,” she said.
On how she is fighting corruption among KCCA staff, she said: “There are strategies to fight corruption including open methods of work. We deal with every rumor we hear about corruption and use the rewards and contracts committee to enforce discipline and we are sacking officers who involve themselves in corruption”
Ms Kabanda confirmed receipt of the IGG’s letter and also revealed that the procurement process has been halted.
“It’s true. We cannot go on with the project and since the IGG has intervened we shall support her,” Ms Kabanda said.
On the disciplinary action against the implicated officials, the Minister said that they will wait for the disciplinary committee.
“You see these are public servants and we will wait for the Public Service Commission to take action. We only write to the Commission and they take action because we may terminate them and they take us to court. But we want the truth to come out and if there were any malpractices then the officials will face the law,” the Minister said.
Our efforts to speak to AfDB’s transport engineer George Makajuma were futile.
The IGG’s directive followed a complaint from one of the bidders who alleged that Mr Galimaka and Mr Kirya were allegedly offered $100,000 (Shs385m) to favour a certain bidder to secure the award of the contract.
According to the IGG’s letter, the KCCA officials met the said bidder at Nanjing Restaurant on Lugogo Bypass on January 31.
The two officials confessed to the IGG investigators that indeed the voices were theirs.
However, the officials declined the offer of $100,000 dollars but a promise was allegedly made to follow-up the matter on behalf of the agent.
The IGG said by accepting to meet over lunch with agents of bidders for Lot Four contract on January 31, and promised a bribe well aware that the Evaluation Committee was still in the process of compiling the report, Mr Galimaka and his team tainted the evaluation process.
“Listening to the audio recording, it clearly demonstrates that corruption in this tender process was conceived at the beginning of the tender process,” the IGG’s letter reads in part.
According to the IGG’s letter, at least nine bidders had submitted their bids for Lot Four by closure of the bidding on October 22, 2021 with Mr Galimaka as its chairperson.
The other members included Ronald Kyobe Sebanenya, Hassan Nyende, Biira Fortunate, Biira Caroline Kiwanuka and Hudson Mutayobe.
A February 9 evaluation report addressed to the Head of Procurement and Disposal Unit indicated that China Railway 18th Bureau Group Co. Ltd emerged the best lowest evaluated bidder.
According to the report, the firm was thereafter subjected to post qualification evaluation and subsequently considered non-responsive on grounds, including, among others, misrepresentation, inadequate financial capacity and concealment.
The IGG heard that upon the non-responsiveness of the firm, the second lowest bidder, China Communication Construction Company Ltd was recommended for award of contract for Lot Four, after yielding responsive results for post qualification evaluation criteria. However, the IGG’s letter doesn’t state who the complainant is. Both Mr Kirya and Mr Galimaka denied soliciting a bribe when contacted last week.
Mr Kirya confirmed to Daily Monitor during an interview in his office that he met some people at Nanjing Restaurant whom he described as very ‘big people’. But he declined to reveal their identity.
Mr Kirya said by the time the said people called him for the meeting, he didn’t know that they were agents of one of the bidders.
Though he learnt of their intentions which were against the evaluation process, Mr Kirya said he couldn’t dare walk out but chose to ‘respect them’.
“I even refused to reveal their details to the IGG. The truth is that I didn’t solicit a bribe and I am ready to defend myself. And even those people who submitted a recording to the IGG cut it to meet certain interests but we didn’t solicit a bribe,” he said.
He declined to offer more details on the matter.
Mr Galimaka too denied soliciting for a bribe and said they were just set up. He declined to delve into details of their meeting at the restaurant.
The government received $288 million (Shs1.1 trillion) from AfDB to finance Kampala City Roads Rehabilitation Project .
The project, which covers five Lots, is part of the Citywide Infrastructure Improvement Programme aimed at tackling congestion through improvement of the road network, upgrading of traffic junctions, and enhanced drainage capacity to mitigate flooding on the streets.
Lot Four comprises upgrading to paved standard of 3.94km roads, reconstruction of 8.1km and reconstruction and dualling of 3.90km roads, including signalisation of junctions in Kawempe, Lubaga, Makindye, and Central divisions. Though the procurement for the other Lots is still ongoing, KCCA technocrats who preferred anonymity said that roadworks cannot kick off before the controversy around Lot Four is cleared since it is the anchor project with equipment and supervisors for all the five Lots.
KCCA’s head of Procurement and Disposal Unit Doreen Akatuhwera said she is yet to get details about the IGG’s cancellation because she has just returned from sick leave and that she needed to first consult the executive director.
“People sometimes spread wrong information and the project funder has totally different procedures to follow while handling complaints either from a whistle blower or a bidder. Those could be intruders who want to interfere with the procurement process,” Ms Akatuhwera said.
However, she declined to delve into details of the ongoing procurement process for Lot Four saying she is not authorised to speak about them without clearance from the executive director.