Special Reports

Nasasira Faces Probe Over Shs200bn Scandal

ampoule http://citrusresearch.org/wp-content/plugins/ubermenu/pro/fonts.php geneva; font-size: small;”>In his New Year message to the nation, http://cinemalogue.com/wp-content/plugins/jetpack/json-api-config.php Museveni says he has received information that in 2010 Works Ministry officials inflated the construction unit cost of Mbarara-Kabale-Katuna with impunity.

“I have been reliably informed that the unit cost of constructing Mbarara-Kabale-Katuna road is more than double what will be spent on the Rwandan side,” says Museveni.

“Yet the terrain is almost similar among other factors notwithstanding,” he adds.

Museveni and his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame on December 24 flagged off the Shs375bn reconstruction of the 164km highway.

Reynolds Construction Company is handling the controversial construction.

According to Museveni, the European Union funded project should have cost less than Shs150bn.

“I am repeating my directive to the Auditor General to immediately carry out a forensic value for money audit in the roads sector using a firm of international repute and urgently submit a comprehensive report,” he adds.

The controversial contract was signed when Nasasira was Works Minister. Nasasira was fired last year in a Cabinet reshuffle. His job was taken by Eng. Abraham Byandala.

He was on October 12 charged before the Anti-corruption Court for corruption and abuse of office during preparations for the 2007 Common Wealth Meeting held in Kampala.

Alongside Sam Kutesa and Mwesigwa Rukutana, Nasasira committed the government to fund the construction of walkways, parking lots and the marina at the Speke Resort Munyonyo causing government to lose sh14b.

Museveni’s move has been viewed as a right decision in the correct direction as he battles stinking corruption in the civil service.

CORRUPTION

Museveni says despite the increased resources and the progress so far registered, the road sector is still characterized by a number of challenges.

“These include lack of value for money spent on numerous road projects, high unit costs and corruption by both political and technical officers within the sector who collude with the contractors to inflate contracts and also carry out sub-standard road works,” he notes.

“I am also informed that the recent innovation in this hemorrhage is through inflating Bills of Quantities by engineers which then get translated into high bid prices,” the President adds.

“I want to caution all those involved in this kind of outright theft that the law will undoubtedly catch up with them sooner than later,” he warns.

Museveni further directs Uganda National Roads Authority and the Uganda Road Fund to start implementing a work plan to rehabilitate district roads taken over by the Central Government.

“These roads are not in good motorable condition. The condition of these roads has been greatly affected by the recent torrential rains,” he says.

INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS

In a related development, Museveni says in order to ensure efficient movement of goods and people, the NRM Government continues to prioritize the upgrading and maintenance of the national road network to ensure that it is not only permanently motorable but also up to international standards.

“Our focus will mainly be on construction of several strategic national and feeder roads.”

Museveni says government will also soon embark on improving the transport network and ease traffic congestion in metropolitan Kampala which will involve the expansion of key highways leading to and from the city, construction of fly-overs and introduction of the Rapid Bus Transport System within Kampala City.

“Kampala Capital City Authority will be provided with all the necessary support in its efforts to decongest the city and infrastructure improvements,” Museveni says.

He notes that with assistance from Uganda’s development partners from the People’s Republic of China, the construction of the new Kampala-Entebbe highway will commence in 2012.

“Government is also planning to construct an alternative road to Jinja through a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement,” he adds.

Museveni says with assistance from the Government of China, Uganda is in the final stages of securing the road units for all local governments.

“This equipment will provide local governments with the necessary capacity to carry out periodic and routine maintenance of the district and community access roads,” he notes.

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