UNRA bosses named in multibillion road scam
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has reversed the procurement process for Busega – Mpigi expressway.
The Bank acted following a complaint by a whistle-blower who accused top bosses at Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) of fraudulent dealings in the procurement process for the project’s contractor.
AfDB are the financiers of this Shs 576 billion project which will cover a total of 63kms between Busega and Mpigi along the Kampala – Masaka highway.
In a May 17 letter to UNRA’s executive director Allen Kagina, the AfDB country manager Kennedy Mbekeani declined to give UNRA the much needed nod of approval to award the contract to China
Civil Engineering Construction Corporation and China Railway 19th Bureau Group Co Ltd (CCECC &CRGC).
Despite being the highest bidder with a bid worth Shs 534.1bn, CCECC & CRGC is favoured by UNRA to take the contract.
This according to the whistle blower could cost the taxpayer an excess of Shs 143.3bn.
Acting on the whistle blower’s information contained in various petitions to the ministers of Works and Transport plus that of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, AfDB reviewed UNRA’s bid evaluation report.
The review discovered some flaws in the bid evaluation report that UNRA had sent to AfDB for a certificate of no objection for CCECC & CRGC joint bid.
According to its review report, AfDB noted that UNRA had wrongly eliminated China Gezhouna Group Co. Ltd, AlNaboodah Contracting Co. LLC and CMC – Advent Busega Joint Venture.
The fifth bidder, JMC projects (India) Ltd, AfDB noted, should have been disqualified at the preliminary stages.
The Bank therefore asked UNRA to submit a revised bid evaluation report for further review.
“Your urgent action and response will be greatly appreciated considering the time it has taken to reach this stage. Kindly note that you are required to ensure that all bids are valid until the procurement process is completed,” Mbekeani’s letter to Kagina partly reads.
COMES IN THE IGG
Not done, the whistle blower last week wrote to the Inspector General of Government (IGG) Irene Mulyagonja, asking her to investigate the alleged fraud in the procurement process for the project.
The petition to the IGG was written on June 21, and highlights how the delayed procurement process is going to cause the government a financial loss.
“Apart from the delayed procurement process even when Uganda is already paying the interest on the loan of Shs 576bn from African Development Bank (AfDB), there is a huge financial loss of Shs
143.2bn that the country is about to make as it is clear that UNRA is set to award the 4th lowest evaluated bidder in the names of M/S China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation and China Railway 19th Bureau Group Co Ltd (CCECC &CRGC),” the whistle-blower wrote.
The whistle blower contends that the contract should be awarded to lowest bidder whose bid is worth Shs 390.8bn as per the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA) Act.