Note: This is our record of what transpired in the meeting. Not verbatim.

COSASE faults UNRA for not recovering money from the contractor of Mbarara-kikagati-Murongo Bridge road

Discussed in the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Entreprises on November 17th, 2016

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The meeting was chaired by the committee Chairperson, Abdu Katuntu, Bugweri County legislator and the team from UNRA, was led by its Executive Director, Allen Kagina. She was accompanied by a number of current and former officials.

The meeting discussed the engineering audit report of 2013/14 on the design and building of Mbarara-kikagati-Murongo Bridge road works from gravel to bitumen, being constructed by China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) Ltd.

Last time, the committee adjourned consideration of the matter due to failure by UNRA to provide the necessary documents regarding the road project. However, today, UNRA Executive Director submitted a number of documents regarding the road project. Some of the audit queries observed by the Auditor General included;

Failure by UNRA to recover the savings from the contract.

The Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority(PPDA) gave prior advice to UNRA before the contract signing, that were there changes in road design that result into reduction of the overall construction costs, the contractor shall not be permitted to benefit from such savings but the employer (UNRA). The committee observed that although the planned cost of the bills of quantities was UGX 56bn, the actual cost was UGX 33bn, resulting to a saving of UGX 22bn. However, UNRA did not recover the money. It is the contractor that benefited which was contrary to PPDA prior advice.

The former Director for Planning, Eng. David Luyimbazi explained to the committee that there were changes in the preliminary road design that led to high cost of some components. And also, the contractor established a high-quality wearing which costed him more money than the planned. Therefore, they used the side saving to offset these. The committee wasn’t satisfied with the response and resolved to summon the contractor.

For this particular road project, the committee also learnt that the lowest bidder (Hawk International) was not awarded the contract. The former Director Planning explained that the said bidder didn’t agree to the UNRA terms and conditions and ended up missing on the contract. The committee resolved to write to the company to provide details over its failure to succeed for the bid.

The Auditor General also reported over payment of UGX 5.5bn to the contractor. The current management explained that they have so far recovered UGX 3.5bn from the contractor. The committee directed management to recover the remaining UGX 2bn by close of business Thursday, next week.

The committee stood on some audit queries on the project due to the absence of the then Accounting Officer, Eng. Peter Sebanakitta and Procurement Officer, Dan Mugura. The committee directed UNRA management to ensure that the said officials attend the next meeting to answer the queries

The committee cautioned current management to be very careful to avoid making the same mistakes which were done by the previous management.

The chairperson adjourned the meeting to Wednesday, next week, 9:30 am.

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