UNRA Asked to Recover UGX 47 billion from Chinese Contractors

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In short
The companies to which money was advanced include China Railway 18th Group 12.9billion, China Railway No.3 Group 12.9billion, Zhongmei Engineering 96.5billion, China Railway No.5 Group 8.4billion and Chongqing International Construction Company 7billion.

The Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) has been directed to recover 47.7 billion Shillings advanced to five Chinese contractors to compensate persons affected by various road construction projects.

The companies to which money was advanced include China Railway 18th Group (12.9billion), China Railway No.3 Group (12.9billion), Zhongmei Engineering (96.5billion), China Railway No.5 Group (8.4billion) and Chongqing International Construction Company (7billion).

They were contracted to undertake projects of Musita-Lumino-Busia, Kanoni-Sembabule-Villa, Olwiyo Gulu, Gulu-Acholibur and Acholibur-Musingo respectively.

In his June 2015 audit report, Auditor General John Muwanga stated that the money totaling 47.7billion Shillings could not be accounted for citing the absence of a status report to verify the progress of compensation.

Related documents presented to Parliament's committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) indicate that out of the 47.7 billion Shillings, only 15 billion Shillings was paid out to persons affected by the road projects.

The committee chaired by Bugweri County MP Abdu Katuntu learnt that 32 billion Shillings remains idle on the accounts of the private contractors. Committee members questioned why UNRA advanced the money to the contractors rather than undertaking the compensations.

"For two years you have given a company twelve billion and it is seated on their account, when time comes to give it back to you, he will give you your twelve billion yet on his account if he was streetwise, he would even fix it or might use this money for his purposes, you have actually advanced a loan," Katuntu observed.

He also demanded for accountability for the already paid out 15 billion Shillings.
 
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Kabale Municipality MP Aja Baryayanga augmented the argument by asking that the contractors be asked to pay interest on the money that was advanced to them.
 
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Robert Odongpin, the former chairperson of UNRA's evaluation committee said that the contractors were supposed to effect the compensation and later provide accountability to UNRA.
 
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UNRA Executive Director Allen Kagina noted that land acquisition and compensation is still complex and as such contributing to delays in implementation of road construction projects.
 
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The committee directed UNRA officials to appear again tomorrow with a copy of the contract they had with the Chinese contractors and the progress on the projects. The MPs also want a list of project affected persons that were compensated with the 15 billion Shillings.

 

About the author

Olive Nakatudde
Olive Nakatudde is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Nakatudde has been a URN staff member since 2013.

Nakatudde started out in journalism in 2009 with Dembe FM radio in Kampala. In 2012, Nakatudde joined Voice of Africa as a political reporter. She has been a photographer since her journalism school days at Makerere University.

Nakatudde is interested in good governance and public policy, which she reports on intensively from the Uganda Parliament. She is a keen follower of cultural affairs in Buganda Kingdom and covers the kingdom's Lukiiko (parliament). Nakatudde also reports on education and health.