Business

MPs to Quiz UNRA over Shs16bn Payments to pro-NRM Law Firms

UNRA boss Allen Kagina interacts with the contractors of the Kamwenge - Fort Portal road in November

Ugandan lawmakers have plotted to question Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) for paying a staggering Shs15, salve http://conocity.eu/wp-includes/ms-default-constants.php 563, buy 305,267 in the space of less than two years to law firms whose owners or associates are tightly connected to the National Resistance Movement party.
ChimpReports on Tuesday landed on documents submitted to the Parliamentary committee on Commissions Statutory and State Enterprises detailing how a dozen law firms received the colossal amounts payable in professional fees in different cases that the roads authority was involved in.
The documents are expected to be opened in the committee sitting on Wednesday where officials from UNRA and owners of law firms are to face Members of Parliament on how the stunning payments were quantified.
According to the documents, few notable firms took big share while others got more than they asked for.
Sebalu & Advocates where the NRM former Legal Director James Sebugenyi is the central actor, got a mindboggling Shs4,425,462,670.
Mr. Sebugenyi was also among the 40 lawyers that represented the NRM in the presidential election petition filed by former candidate Amama Mbabazi at the Supreme Court.
The law firm represented the authority (UNRA) in 17 cases notably the one involving the allegedly United States ghost construction company Eutaw.
In November 2013 UNRA awarded Eutaw a contract of Shs 165,272,156,184 to upgrade the Mukono-Katosi-Kisoga-Nyenga road but the contract was rescinded in November 2014 following a directive from the Inspectorate of Government.
Eutaw disagreed with the cancellation and filed a petition challenging it at the Constitutional Court.
UNRA contracted Sebalu and Lule to represent the former in the Constitutional Court.
A letter to the UNRA Executive Director Allen C. Kagina from Sebalu & Lule Advocates which ChimpReports has seen, asked for Shs13,221,772,545. UNRA protested the amount and another letter written to the Executive Director on 19th August 2016 and received on the same day drastically revised the figure to 5,215,563,854, raising suspicion.
The payment of the money is either not captured or yet to be executed.
“These are some of the issues we want UNRA to explain. We think the new Executive Director Allen Kagina appears to be exerting pressure on law firms to revise their exorbitant figures. This means something was wrong before she took office,” said a lawmaker who prefferred anonymity to as to speak freely.
A disturbing payment of Shs487,000,000 was made to Sebalu & Lule Advocates’ Standard Chartered Bank account number 0102010619700, Speke Road brank when the amount invoiced (quoted by the firm) was only Shs400,000,000.

The payment was for a 2012 case involving UNRA and Abaker Otim and 276 others.
Sebalu and Lule Adocates was also paid Shs777,000,000 in a case involving UNRA, IGG and the Prime Contractors Limited.
Meanwhile, the same law firm got Shs1,190,000,000 in a case that does not exist or failed to be traced, according to legal sources.
The Kampala Associated Advocates whose owners include Elly Karuhanga among others took Shs1,416,000,000 in a matter that reportedly did not go court.
It is only indicated as RCC Vs Attorney General and UNRA.
Meanwhile, Bitangaro & Co Advocates that belongs to former minister Sam Bitangaro and now MP on NRM ticket also received hundreds of millions in legal fees from UNRA.
The UNRA corruption probe reported that over Shs4 trillion shillings was abused before Kagina took office.
The Parliamentary probe starts tomorrow Tuesday and ChimpReports will be closely following the matter.

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