Four Chi­nese com­pa­nies have re­funded Shs 26 bil­lion money meant for com­pen­sa­tion un­der sev­eral Uganda Na­tional Roads Au­thor­ity (UNRA) pro­jects. The com­pa­nies in­clude Zhong­mei En­gi­neer­ing, China Rail­way No 5 Group, Chongqing In­ter­na­tional Con­struc­tion Com­pany and China Rail­way 18th Group.

The money is part of Ugx 47 bil­lion shillings ad­vanced to the com­pa­nies by UNRA to com­pen­sate in­di­vid­u­als af­fected by pro­ject con­struc­tions how­ever the com­pa­nies are re­ported to have put the money in fixed ac­counts to ac­crue in­ter­est.

The Com­mis­sions, Statu­tory Au­thor­i­ties and State En­ter­prises (COSASE) com­mit­tee chair­man, Abdu Katuntu told a news con­fer­ence at Par­lia­ment on Oc­to­ber 13, 2016 that the four com­pa­nies com­plied with a di­rec­tive is­sued by the com­mit­tee on Tues­day Oc­to­ber 11, 2016 to re­fund the monies meant to com­pen­sate Pro­ject Af­fected Per­sons (PAPs) af­fected by the con­struc­tion of Acholibur-Musingo road; Ol­wiyo Gulu road; Musita-Lu­mino-Bu­sia road and Kanoni-Sem­bab­ule-Villa road.

Katuntu re­vealed that only China Rail­ways No. 3 Group is the only com­pany yet to re­fund Ugx 9 bil­lion shillings. “They don’t have enough money on their ac­counts here. So what we have in­structed UNRA to do is to call on the guar­an­tee. I am cer­tain that by close of busi­ness, the bank should be able to pay the full amount. We have re­cov­ered.

Ac­cord­ing to doc­u­ments tabled by the com­mit­tee, Chongqing In­ter­na­tional Con­struc­tion Cor­po­ra­tion Shillings re­funded Ugx 3.5 bil­lion; Zhong­mei En­gi­neer­ing Group Lim­ited re­funded Ugx 272.7 mil­lion; China Rail­way 18th Group Lim­ited re­funded Ugx 14 bil­lion while China Rail­way Group No. 5 re­funded Ugx 8.4 bil­lion.

Katuntu as­serted that the com­mit­tee was not to try the con­trac­tors but rather re­cover tax­pay­ers’ money which had been di­verted by the com­pa­nies. “Our role is to name and shame those that en­gage in fraud and re­cover the money. We are not a pros­e­cut­ing agency but want to as­sure the Pro­jects Af­fected Per­sons that soon they will re­ceive their money,” Katuntu re­as­sured.

Other mem­bers of the com­mit­tee partly blamed UNRA for its lapses in en­sur­ing au­then­tic­ity and time­li­ness on the pay­ments to the Pro­ject Af­fected Per­sons.

The com­mit­tee also promised to rec­om­mend to Par­lia­ment to di­rect Govt to re­view the re­la­tion­ship be­tween UNRA and con­trac­tors to avoid such mishaps in fu­ture.