SG blocks new Katosi road deal

Kampala. The Solicitor General has stopped the signing of a new contractor for the controversial Mukono-Katosi road until the disputes over the project pending in court have been disposed of.
Reliable sources indicate that the acting Solicitor General, Mr Christopher Gashirabake, wrote to Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) last week, aising against signing a new contract for the controversial road project.
The Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) had written to the Solicitor General’s office seeking green light on signing a new deal for the 74km road project. The contract has been riddled with corruption and fraud claims since April.
UNRA’s head of corporate communications, Dan Alinange, confirmed the development, saying: “The Solicitor General said we cannot sign a new contractor before the injunction that CICO secured has been heard and disposed of.”
“What we have done is to conduct routine maintenance works on the road to make it usable to the public as our legal team handles the rest,” he added.
The Chinese company, CICO, which had secured the deal for the road got a court injunction early this month restraining UNRA from implementing the directives of the Inspector General of Government (IGG) Irene Mulyagonja for it to vacate the site.
The injunction, issued ex-parte, by Justice Lillian Mwandha was to stay any action pending hearing of the main application on January 8, 2015.
Justice Mulyagonja in her partial report of investigations into the alleged corruption and bending of procurement guidelines had indicated that CICO was part of the plot in which UNRA was defrauded of Shs24.7 billion.
The roads authority was directed to re-tender the procurement of a new contractor for the road, not to make any payments to the company and further, “not to entertain any bid by CICO in the new procurement”.
CICO had been earlier subcontracted to construct the road by an American company, Eutaw Constructions Inc, which reportedly won the original contract from UNRA.

Background
The company had started preliminary works on the road but IGG ordered the company to halt works when it emerged that Eutaw was a phony company.
The company had received an upfront of Shs12.2 billion from Eutaw for out of the Shs24 billion that it (Eutaw) had received as aanced payment from UNRA.
Justice Mulyagonja yesterday said was aware of the Solicitor General’s opinion.
“We had hoped that that the application would be heard before the 2015 date but the matter was somehow complicated by some people but in any case we hope that it would be heard anytime,” she said.

IGG blocked

Meanwhile, the IGG had filed an application at the Nakawa High Court seeking judicial review and seeking court’s permission to defend themselves in the hearing of the case in which CICO had used her office and UNRA but its hearing was blocked by the Attorney General.

musisif@ug.nationmedia.com

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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