Pages Smuggled into Vurra-Oraba Road Construction Contract

1834 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
The committee on Commissions, State Authorities and Statutory Enterprises, established that a number of pages a font that looks different from the rest of the document and had no signature appended to them.

A parliamentary committee has ordered a legal audit on a contract for upgrading of Vurra-Arua-Koboko-Oraba road signed between Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) and a Chinese Contractor.

The 92-Kilometer stretch was to be upgraded to Bitumen standard, through a 138 billion Shillings contract awarded to- Chongqing International Construction (CICO) China. However, the committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) has established that a number of pages were smuggled into the contract.

The matter arose during a meeting between the committee and UNRA officials led by the Executive Director Allen Kagina. They were responding to queries raised in a 2014 engineering audit report conducted on a sample of road contracts implemented by UNRA.

The committee established that the font of the smuggled pages was different from the other pages in the contract document. The committee also discovered that all the other pages of the contract had been signed except the smuggled pages which had no signature appended.

UNRA's former Director Planning Eng. David Luyimbazi told the committee chaired by Bugweri County MP Abdul Katuntu that changes could have come as a result of editing tasks before the undertaking.

"We shall examine this particular page to find out if there was a reason for its insertion. We can see if it was smuggled in for a reason. We don't know what the inserted page provided for. It could have been material which can change contents of the contract," Katuntu said.

He added that the anomalies can only be resolve through a legal audit.
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The committee also queried a fine of 1.8billion Shillings paid by UNRA to the contractor after a delay in securing the Environmental Impact Assessment report from the National Environmental Authority (NEMA). It's alleged that the failure equally delayed the construction works by four months.

However, Auditor General John Muwanga directed that UNRA recovers the 1.8 billion Shillings given that some costs were also paid to NEMA for the approval.

MP Katuntu directed that NEMA appears before the committee on Thursday morning to explain the actions which cost government huge sums of money.
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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.