Karuma Dam Project Faces Resistance At EA Court


online geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 200%;”>The case was filed by Mr Henry Kyarimpa against the government of Uganda, healing challenging the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed between the Republic of Uganda and People’s Republic of China to construct the Karuma Hydro Power Unit in Uganda.

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Counsel for the Applicant Mr. Mohmed Mbabazi submitted that, the act by the government of awarding a contract for the construction of the dam to China was done outside the procurement process which is an infringement of Articles 6, 7 and 8 of the Treaty for the establishment of the East African Community.

The Articles provide fundamental principles of the Community, Operational principles of the Community and General undertaking as to implementation respectively.

Mr. Mbabazi continued and urged that the Ugandan government ignored the Court orders against the cancellation of the previous procurement process and that they will suffer irreparable damage not equivalent to monetary compensation when there is violation of rule of law, thus the need to restrain the Government of Uganda from proceeding with the contract.

He therefore asked Court to grant an injunction order against the government of Uganda to refrain it from infringing the Treaty and to interpret Article 38 (2) of the same.

The Respondent ( Attorney General of the Republic of Uganda) represented by Mr. Cheborion Barishaki, Director of Civil Litigation Uganda, in response to the Applicant submitted that in a bi-lateral arrangement between the government of Uganda and China, Uganda nullified the previous procurement process after investigations by the Inspector General of Government and found out the process was not accurate and not recommended by the Ministry of Energy and Minerals of Uganda as well which led to the cancellation of the previous procurement process and now the government in the implementation of the new one.

State Attorneys, Elisha Bafirawala and Richard Adrole, in agreement with Barishaki, urged the Court to strike out the Application with costs because the parties including Sino hydro CMC, Kaluma JV, China International Water and Electric corp among others who were involved in the procurement process which was canceled have no irreparable damages suffered.

He added that instead the court should consider the social economy benefits like employment which will be lost if the application is granted. Mr. Bafirawala added that the matter is of private interest so be dismissed.

The hearing was before Hon. Mr. Justice Jean Bosco Butasi, Principal Judge, Hon. Lady Justice Stella Arach Amoko, Deputy Principal Judge, Hon. Mr.Justice John Mkwawa, Hon. Mr. Justice Isaac Lenaola and Hon. Dr. Justice Faustin Ntezilyayo.


Government in June decided to award the EPC contract of the construction of the 600MW Karuma Hydropower Plant (HPP) and associated transmission Lines (Karuma Interconnection Project) to Sinohydro Corporation.

Sinohydro Corporation is the world’s largest contractor of hydroelectric projects participating in 50 percent of all the current large-scale hydropower projects globally today.

The company is 100 percent owned by the government of China and is recognised by the Ministry of Commerce in China as the country’s leading hydropower contractor and one of its leaders in overseas contracting as part of the government of China’s “Going Global’ strategy.

The dam is expected to cost $1.6bn. That figure includes the cost needed to build a transmission line from Karuma to a location where the power will be integrated into the national power grid.

The Power Station will be located at Karuma, on the Victoria Nile, at the present location of the Karuma Falls, adjacent to the location where the Masindi-Gulu Highway, crosses the river Nile.

The Energy and Mineral Development Ministry said then the decision to award the contract was reached during a meeting with President Yoweri Museveni “after deliberating on presentations made by several Chinese companies, including China Three Gorges Corporation (which is the parent company of China International water and Electric) and China Gezhouba.”

It added the presentations were largely allowed as the Ministry had formally informed all the bidders in writing that the tender process had been cancelled.


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