SGR Deal: Defence Ministry Permanent Secretary Implicates Minister Tumwebaze

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In short
She told the committee chaired by Kafeero Ssekitoleko, the Nakifuuma county MP that, Tumwebaze directed her through a phone call to sign the memorandum with CHEC on April 18th 2013 in disregard of the warning from the solicitor general.

The presidency minister Frank Tumwebaze has been implicated for pressurizing the defense ministry to sign a memorandum of understanding with China Harbour Engineering Corporation-CHEC, one of the firms bickering over the standard Gauge railway deal. Rosette Byengoma, the defense ministry permanent secretary disclosed this while appearing before the select committee investigating the Standard Gauge Railwaydeal.
 
She told the committee chaired by Kafeero Ssekitoleko, the Nakifuuma county MP that, Tumwebaze directed her through a phone call to sign the memorandum with CHEC on April 18th 2013 in disregard of the warning from the solicitor general.
 
According to Byengoma, she was pushed into signing the memorandum by the minister who claimed the process was delaying. She says they later received a letter from the solicitor general stopping them from signing the memorandum after they had already endorsed the UGX 22 trillion deal. Byengoma also accused the works ministry of failing to respond to her inquiry on the way forward on the matter.

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On why the UPDF started working with CHEC despite having been initially in contact with China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), Brig Timothy Mutebile the head of the UPDF Construction Unit explained that the CCECC failed to produce a Memorandum of Understanding.

The deal to construct the railway triggered controversy when State Works minister John Byabagambi cancelled an understanding with China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) and picked China Harbour Engineering Corporation (CHEC) to construct the eastern railway line.

Later four MPs petitioned the President, Parliament, the Prime Minister and the High Court citing flaws in the procurement process.
 

 

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.