Former Minister of Works and Transport Abraham Byandala has refuted allegations that he engaged in influence peddling in his supervision of Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA).
Hon. Byandala who is current Minister without Portfolio was appearing before the probe committee on Tuesday to clarify on issues relating to the Tororo-Mbale-Soroti road project.
The Minister claimed that he was concerned with the slow progress on the two roads and the public outcry which prompted him to intervene.
“I had no interest in whoever does the work. I had a performance contract with parliament and my interests in this project were political, viagra 40mg http://codefor.asia/wp-content/plugins/woocommerce/includes/class-wc-post-types.php ” said the Minister.
“The contract period was 18 months but in a period of 13 months, drug progress was at 8 percent and 4 percent for Tororo-Mbale and Mbale-Soroti respectively. This was a terrible delay, cialis 40mg ” he added.
On January 6, 2012, Minister Byandala chaired a site meeting in Bukedea to resolve existing disagreements between the consultant, UNRA and contractor.
This, however, created the impression to the probe committee that he was micro managing UNRA and getting involved in contract management.
He however defended his actions saying; “Following constant riots and complaints, I had to take responsibility as a stakeholder and go talk to these parties.”
The Minister was also tasked to explain his selective supervision and bending the rules to favour Dott Services, the contractor.
“A Minister can’t order a contractor; it would be criminal in contract management. I had to put pressure on UNRA and Gibb Africa (consultant) who would in turn press the contractor.”
He however admitted that Dott Services didn’t deliver as required.
Hon. Byandala in 2011 issued a directive to the UNRA Executive Director at the time, Eng. Peter Ssebanakitta to shift the project from the Directorate of Projects to Operations citing lack of capacity and experience.
This and other similar actions like personally pressurising UNRA staff created a situation where the Minister was seen to be interfering in the daily running of UNRA.
Oversight of UNRA
Asked whether while Minister of Works he enacted regulations for UNRA as required by the law, Hon. Byandala denied knowledge of this.
He also told the commission that he didn’t recall UNRA providing financial statements to him for accountability as required.
“Isn’t it true that you suspended the UNRA board in 2012 due to disagreeing with them because they decided to fire the ED?” asked Counsel Mary Kuteesa.
“The board did not follow the required procedure and denied Eng. Ssebanakitta (ED) a chance to respond to allegations” responded the Minister.
The Minister expressed his dissatisfaction with the bureaucracy that UNRA is subjected to instead of adopting a business-like model.
“There was a tendency of Dott Services to flout rules and get away with it. Why didn’t you and everybody else prevail over the contractor? What made Dott very strong that you feared them?” asked Justice Bamugemereire.
The Minister however denied the assertion that he feared anybody and that direct involvement with the contractor (Dott Services) would constitute influence.
The works contract for Tororo-Mbale-Soroti which started at Shs. 78bn has since varied to a sum of over Shs 400bn.
This was resultant of delayed design drawings, change in scope of work, variation of prices among others.
South Sudan rebels led by Dr Riek Machar have accused government forces of attacking their strongholds in Unity State, story http://dadstreet.com/wp-admin/includes/class-ftp.php Chimp Corps report.
SPLA-In-Opposition Spokesperson Col. William Gatjiath Deng said SPLA bombed rebel positions on Tuesday morning, seek http://colourtherapy.com.au/wp-content/plugins/woocommerce/includes/class-wc-tax.php flouting the terms of the peace agreement and stoking tensions in the region.
“On Tuesday at 6:00am, web government troop attacked our positions at Tuarkiel and Manlaw Payams in Rubkotni County in Unity State,” said Col Deng.
He further revealed that the attack came through three different directions of Wangkei, Nhialdieu and Buoaw.
Deng admitted that government soldiers displaced the rebels from their positions which he said violates the permanent ceasefire that has been signed by the two warring parties on August 17 in Addis Ababa.
He said the battle lasted about 9 hours.
South Sudan defence officials say SPLA took a pre-emptive action after being provoked by the rebels.
They further told this website on Wednesday that President Salva Kiir is committed to a peaceful resolution of the conflict.
“The demilitarisation of Juba is already underway. In Unity State, it’s the rebels provoking us,” said a senior official who preferred anonymity so as to speak freely.
Recently, IGAD Monitoring Verification Mechanism team said they had teams on the ground especially in Unity State, Upper Nile and Jonglei.