Museveni Implicated for Violating Procurement Laws in SGR Deal

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In short
Niwagaba told the committee that president Museveni personally ordered the award of the contract to CHEC and tabled letters from the President to that effect.

President Yoweri Museveni has been implicated for flouting procurement procedures in the award of the contract for the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway line on the Eastern route.

Controversies surrounding the Construction of the Standard Gauge railway started after State Minister for Works Byabagambi cancelled an MOU with China Civil Engineering Corporation (CCECC) and awarded the contract to China Harbour Engineering Corporation (CHEC) to construct the railway. Early this year, government contracted China Harbor Corporation-CHEC, a Chinese firm to construct the Standard Gauge Railway line at the cost of UGX 4 trillion.

However, MPs Wilfred Niwagaba, Theodore Ssekikubo, Abdu Katuntu, Barnabas Tinkasimire and Paul Mwiru questioned the deal and petitioned parliament calling for investigations. As a result, Rebecca Kadaga, the speaker of parliament appointed a select committee chaired by Robert Kafeero Ssekitoleko, the Nakifuma county MP to investigate the deal.  

This afternoon, the legislators appeared before the committee to present documents relating to the award of the contract to CHEC. Niwagaba told the committee that president Museveni personally ordered the award of the contract to CHEC and tabled letters from the President to that effect.

In an August 22nd letter, Museveni directs Abraham Byandala, the works minister and other government officials directing that a feasibility study carried out by Government be given to CHEC at no cost. Museveni directs the minister to demonstrate leadership in the project adding that, he didn't want any more delays and directed the Minister to engage CHEC to undertake the development of Kampala, Malaba, Tororo, Gulu, Nimule with a branch from Gulu via Pakwach.
He directed that the studies undertaken by Government should be utilized to fast-track the development of the Standard Gauge Railway.  According to Niwagaba, by giving directives President Museveni violated sections of the law relating to Procurement.
//Cue in: "Mr. Chairman……..
Cue out…laws of Uganda"//                                       

Niwagaba also says that in one of the correspondences, Alex Okello Bangamoi, the works ministry permanent secretary admits having written directing the Contracts Committee of his Ministry not to consider the procurement process and award the contract to CHEC.

Abdu Katuntu, the Bugweri County MP told the Committee that CHEC, which was awarded the contract, had not conducted any feasibility study for the railway, its lifespan, price and the route.


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.