Kalangala District has petitioned President Yoweri Museveni seeking to terminate a multi-billion shilling contract between Government of Uganda and a private firm to manage a new ferry in the area.
Kalangala District has petitioned President Yoweri Museveni seeking to terminate a multi-billion shilling contract signed between Government of Uganda and a private firm to manage a new ferry in the area.
The district officials cite corruption, shoddy work, and suspicious agreements with government.
On June 14, 2010, the ministry of works signed an agreement with Kalangala Infrastructural Services to manage the new Kalangala Ferry. The agreement was signed by John Nasasira, the then minister of works and transport on behalf of the Government and John Opillo, the Managing Director Kalangala Infrastructural Services Company Limited.
In the agreement, a copy of which Uganda Radio Network has seen, Government agreed to pay Kalangala Infrastructural Services 48 billion shillings as advance payment to manage the new ferry constructed in Mwanza Tanzania, for the next eight years. The agreement shows that the ferry was supposed to start operations in January this year and passengers were supposed to pay 8000 shillings as transport fare.
The agreement also shows that vehicles were supposed to pay between 20,000 and 100,000 shillings depending on the size of the vehicle. Under this arrangement, Bukakata-Luku Ferry, which is the only means of public transport from Masaka to Kalangala, would be withdrawn to give the new private ferry monopoly to manage transport in the area.
However, the operations of the new ferry have been blocked by Kalangala district over corruption allegations, suspicious contractual agreements and shoddy construction of the pier where the new ferry is supposed to dock.
Kalangala district has instead petitioned President Museveni to investigate circumstances under which the agreements were signed.
Willy Lugoloobi, the Kalangala LC5 Chairperson says the district council blocked the ferry operations because the people of Kalangala were not consulted and involved in the signing of the contract.
Lugoloobi says the new ferry will not be allowed to operate until Government explains circumstances under which it signed a 48 billion shilling agreement without consulting them as beneficiaries.
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Deo Lukomwa, an opinion leader in the area accuses John Nasasira of secretly signing the agreement without going through open bidding. Lukomwa claims that failure by Nasasira to advertise and go through the procurement laws means there was corruption in signing this tender which must be investigated.
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Eddie Maalo, another resident says he is happy the ferry operations have been halted. He says the same firm, Kalangala Infrastructural Services Company Limited, has messed up several projects whose agreements and contracts were signed in similar manner. He identifies such projects as water and sanitation services and road maintenance.
According to Maalo, the company has failed to manage water services leading to a severe crisis in Kalangala. Maalo further notes that KIS is involved in the shoddy construction of Kalangala-Luku-Bugoma road and is therefore not competent to manage ferry services in the area.
Nasasira, the government chief whip and Charles Muganzi, the Permanent Secretary ministry of works, have declined to comment. Muganzi told URN he was in a meeting and unable to speak about the issue.
But John Opillo, the KIS Managing Director, says the ferry will start soon despite the protests by Kalangala officials. He says the Ministry of Finance has already agreed to meet their demands in the agreements to roll out the ferry services.
He accuses Kalangala leaders of mixing politics with investment.
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