Musisi Answers Councillors’ Report

On July 11 the Legal Affairs Working Group (LAWG) of the Kampala Capital City Authority, chaired by Mr Frank Kanduho, wrote to Kampala Minister Frank Tumwebaze accusing Musisi of various forms of mismanagement of the city’s affairs.

Last week, Musisi responded to the LAWG’s accusations, with her own letter to Tumwebaze (See KCCA’s Musisi fires back at critical councillor Kanduho, The Observer September 22). Below we publish, with slight abridgements, part of Musisi’s letter responding to most of the points raised by the LAWG

1. Boda boda operations in the city

In the LAWG meeting of April 29, 2014 the issue of the regulation of the boda boda industry was discussed extensively. The LAWG was informed that all boda boda riders in the city were registered and a code of conduct prepared to govern their trade. The members were also informed that the boda boda code of conduct was formulated after consultations with the political leadership though the guidelines had not been presented before the LAWG. The LAWG recommended only the following

a. The Code of Conduct should be presented to the councillors for their input and therefore it should be shelved at the moment.

b. The envisaged number of stages and the permit fees should also be communicated.

It is surprising, therefore, that the LAWG chose to abdicate its responsibilities in its meetings to make comprehensive recommendations on how to regulate boda boda operations but has instead chosen to give voice to the same in its report to you.

2. The outdoor aertising industry

The regulation and policing of the outdoor industry is governed by the Outdoor Aertising Policy of 2008. Since some of the tools erected by aertisers are buildings within the meaning of various Physical Planning laws, the outdoor industry is by implication an area supervised by the Physical Planning Directorate and by extension the Physical Planning Committee, KCCA. The fees payable in respect of any approved tool are stipulated in the Outdoor Aertising Policy supra.

The laws and policies that govern this industry apply to both tools erected on private and public land. On the issue of the Outdoor Aertising Guidelines 2014, these were presented to the Legal Affairs Working Group in its meeting held on May 7, 2014 and the same considered them. In fact the working group recommended a number of changes to the guidelines. A copy of the signed minutes of this meeting is sent herewith.

It can safely be concluded that the observations of Mr Frank Kanduho and Mr Bernard Luyiga on this issue are both false and unfounded. Mr Kanduho has on several occasions mentioned his desire to legally aise and represent litigants against KCCA including outdoor aertisers and illegal developers.

3. Procurement of Usafi market

The purchase of Usafi market is an ongoing procurement in line with the PPDA Act and Regulations made thereunder. It is important to note that like all procurements involving government institutions, the Chief Government Valuer’s aice was sought and the price to be paid to the vendor shall be informed by the selling price returned by the Office of the Chief Government Valuer.

We are aware that in returning the price of any particular property, the office of the Chief Government Valuer takes into account many factors, including, but not limited to, the developments on the land.

KCCA took into consideration the following aspects about the market before considering it for procurement

a. The market sits on the largest single piece of land available in the city centre for informal trading.

b. Usafi market has the capacity to absorb 7,000 (seven thousand) vendors directly and 10,000 indirectly and this will reduce the number of people illegally trading on the streets of Kampala city.

c. The market is strategically located at the apex of major routes and it has a double frontage onto Katwe road and Mengo Hill road.

d. The availability of a gazetted taxi park with the capacity to hold 800 vehicles which facilitates both the vendors and market-goers.

e. The several completed developments already existent at the market including an administration block, 200 lock-up shops, 2000 permanent market stands and stalls, 12 butchers shops, two toilet blocks with 16 toilets and showers a police post, generator room and two barbershops among others.

It is also important to note that to date this procurement has not been concluded by the Kampala Capital City Contracts Committee and thus it would not only be premature but unwise to open up the same to influence peddling from various political actors. It’s also important to note that the PPDA prohibits both the governing body and the Accounting Officer from interfering with or influencing the entity’s procurement process.

5. Impounded motor vehicles

This matter was discussed in the LAWG meeting of March 26, 2014 and this was only in relation to the issue of how best to manage andor collect revenue from errant motor vehicle owners whose vehicles were impounded. The allegation that the LAWG considered the issue of motor vehicle impounding and concluded that the same is bedeviled by highhandedness of Authority staff is farfetched and fanciful.

6. Legal fees due to external law firms

Regarding fees due to the Law firm, Ms Sendege, Senyondo amp Co. Aocates first the law firm was retained, on January 28, 1988 by the Kampala City Council for court-related matters and its contract was last renewed on January 1, 1996 for five years automatically extendable for a further five years (the contract legally expired on December 31, 2005). That notwithstanding, the firm continues to represent the Authority in court to date. An attempt to retrieve all case files handled by the firm was fruitless since they insist on first being paid their dues.

We reviewed a number of bills of costs for cases that fall within the uncontested period (i.e. 1996 – 2005) and the outstanding amount currently stands at Shs 2,528,152,193-. This amount, in accordance with the contract, was subjected to an automatic rebatediscount of 25% as per contract. The automatic rebate amounted to Shs 632, 038,049- thereby leaving as owing the sum of Shs 1, 896,114,144-.

The amount in retainer fees per annum was revised in 1998 to Shs 12,000,000- per annum and the same thus stood at Shs 96,000,000- for the undisputed contract period. Our assessment was that the amount due to the firm of aocates is therefore Shs 1, 992,114,144- which is in the region of Shs 2Bn.

Our view was that for the rest of the amounts during the period when there is no subsisting contract (i.e. January 2006 to-date) should be administratively determined by Management so that we can retrieve the case files from MS Sendege, Senyondo amp Co. Aocates and handle them in-house as a way of cost-saving.

Please note that the said law firm as at June 2012 reported a total 122 cases handled by them. Correspondences from the said firm demanding for payment abound. However, it is our considered opinion that a committee such as LAWG should have interested itself with the principle behind the activities of the directorate that they oversee (the Directorate of Legal Affairs) unless there is proof that the directorate they oversee is unduly withholding pertinent information from the committee, which I doubt is the case here.

7. Management of contracts at KCCA

The LAWG did request for and was availed lists of contracts that had been handled by the Directorate of Legal Affairs. In cases where the information requested for was considered insufficient, the directorate undertook to avail the further and better particulars on the same. Unfortunately before this could be done Mr. Frank Kanduho declined to hold any further meetings of the Legal Affairs Working Group.

No meetings have been held since the meeting of May 15, 2014, thus stalling the operations of the LAWG. It is unfortunate that some members of the Legal Affairs Working Group allege that the affairs of the Capital City Contracts Committee are run in a secretive manner.

The LAWG has never requested to be educated upon the work and processes of Capital City Contracts Committee but that said, the chairperson of the LAWG is an aocate who should be aware that the workingsrocedures of the committee are dictated by the PPDA Act and the regulations thereunder and should also be aware that the PPDA Act prohibits the policymakers’ interference with the entity’s procurement process.

8. Kampala District Land Board (KDLB)

The existence or lack thereof KDLB was discussed extensively in the LAWG meeting of March 12, 2014 and we informed the members thereof that there were a plethora of court decisions confirming not only the existence of KDLB but also its independence from KCCA.

The LAWG was also informed that KDLB was open and conducting business. The LAWG was also informed that it was not KCCA to inform the public that KDLB was functional but rather this was the duty of KDLB itself. Furthermore, KCCA has been receiving revenue from the leases managed by KDLB. Therefore, the allegation that KCCA was living in denial is spurious.

9. Staff matters

Under the KCC Act, matters of staffing and indeed discipline of staff has been and still is a sole preserve of the Public Service Commission, Health Service Commission and the Education Service Commission. It comes as a surprise, therefore, when in its report the LAWG alleges that KCCA engages in arbitrary hiring and firing of staff. This can only be interpreted as ignorance of the provisions of the KCC Act and in particular section 25 thereof.

Source : The Observer

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