Kadaga runs to Museveni over Isimba bridge funds
The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has told Parliament that she had forwarded to President Yoweri Museveni, a list of people who allegedly swindled over Shs 24 billion meant for the construction of Isimba dam bridge.
The bridge is meant to improve connectivity between Kayunga and Kamuli districts which are separated by River Nile.
Kadaga claims that the money was swindled by officials in the ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, but what is surprising to her is that, despite forwarding the names of the suspects to the President in March this year, no response or action has been taken.
Isimba hydropower dam was commissioned on March 21 at functing during which the project steering committee chairperson, Eng Badru Kiggundu announced that China Water and Electrical Company Ltd was expected to construct a bridge across R.Nile that would link Kayunga and Kamuli districts.
The bridge was meant to run from Kayunga to Kuva island and another from Kuva island to the Kamuli side. However, to date, the bridge has never been constructed although the dam was completed.
“I have been following that matter for several months; the money was eaten in the ministry of Energy, Shs 24bn…I have written to the president. I gave him the names of the ‘eaters’. I have been waiting since March. I have not seen any action.” said Kadaga.
The dam was constructed at a whopping $568 million (about Shs 2 trillion) per cent with more than 85 per cent coming as a loan from China’s Exim Bank.
Reacting to her comments, MPs called for an investigation since the executive appears unwilling to take action.
“If there is evidence that money was stolen, what will Cabinet do? We need the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) to intervene so that those who are culpable are punished,” argued Bugiri Municipality MP Asuman Basalirwa.
Chief Opposition Whip also Kira Municipality MP, Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda said Parliament should consider constituting a select committee to investigate the matter.
The Minister for Works and Transport, Monica Azuba, explained that her ministry’s role only stopped at providing designs to the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development which is responsible for funding the construction of the bridge
“It is true the bridge was supposed to be done at that point, and when we came to the realisation when the dam was finished, we brought it up to the ministry of Energy. So the ministry of Energy has asked UNRA [Uganda National Roads Authority] to do the design and they will come up with the findings so that it will still be under Energy,” Azuba said.
MPs wondered why a new design is now being drafted for the bridge long after the dam was even completed and commissioned, yet the initial design of the dam included a bridge. David Guma Gumisiriza, the Ibanda North MP, said it is a serious issue for the speaker to say the money earmarked for the bridge was swindled. He said parliament cannot just ignore such issues, saying the implicated persons should be summoned.
“The statement from the Speaker of Parliament of Uganda to say money is stolen for a project that is supposed to connect, ease transport in this country is such a serious matter. I would request Parliament to summon in Irene Muloni and all the concerned people and delve into the issue in this very matter. The other day money for Katosi road disappeared and some people who allegedly shared the money are in this house. Really how can we have a country like that?” Gumisiriza wondered.