Parliament Demands Special Audit for UNRA Projects

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In short
This institution can be described as extremely sick. Whatever can go wrong in an institution indeed went wrong in UNRA. Fraud coupled with incompetency was the order of the day. Any achievement was more of an accident than deliberate. COSASE chairperson Abdu Katuntu told parliament.

Parliament has adopted a report by the committee on Commissions statutory authorities and state enterprises (COSASE) which recommends an audit of all projects under the Uganda National Roads Authority.
 
The committee's report follows a three months p;robe which unearthed rot in the Authority.
 
"This institution can be described as extremely sick. Whatever can go wrong in an institution indeed went wrong in UNRA. Fraud coupled with incompetency was the order of the day. Any achievement was more of an accident than deliberate." COSASE chairperson Abdu Katuntu told parliament.
 
The report noted that although the Auditor General sampled a few projects managed by UNRA, all sampled projects were riddled with gross management challenges hence a need for an audit into all projects.
 
Katuntu told parliament that UNRA's negligence has seen contractors ask for compensation as a result of idle time on site and that consultants sent on sites were found to be incompetent, with some of them confessing not being well conversant with the laws of Uganda.
 
The Committee now wants UNRA to tighten up the processes used to recruit the Consultants.
 
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Katuntu singled out the Kampala - Entebbe express highway as one of the projects that embody mismanagement afflicting the roads agency.
 
The cost of the 51.4km project is USD 479 million (1.7 trillion Shillings) which translated into a cost of USD 9.3 million (33 billion Shillings) per km. According to the report, the contractor solicited the bid, conducted the feasibility study and design and eventually won the contract without competitive bidding. The oversight led to inflated costs.
 
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Katuntu also reported to parliament how six Chinese companies traded in 47 billion Shillings meant for land compensations. Parliament now wants UNRA to take over the management of compensating Project Affected Persons and has warned the entity against contracting any outsider.
 
Katuntu however told the House that Government needs to keep a close eye on this exercise revealing that some UNRA employees rush to purchase land in areas where new roads are planned to pass and later come to demand for compensation.
 
MPs demanded that all contractors, consultants and staff named in defrauding UNRA be blacklisted and banned from conducting business with Government for five years.
 
"The issues of UNRA need to be looked into deeper, even the current management aren't angels. I don't think they were genetically modified not to steal." said Kasambya County MP Mbwatekamwa Gaffa.
 
Kampala Central MP, Mohammad Nsereko blames UNRA woes on Government which he accused of mortgaging Uganda in the name of attracting investors.

 

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.