Uganda: New Petition Hits Shs 200 Billion Parliament Chamber Tender

The tender for the procurement of the proposed new chambers of parliament which will cost an estimated Shs 200 billion has been thrown back into controversy, after a whistle-blower wrote to the Inspector General of Government, claiming collusion between the PPDA and officials handling the procurement at parliament

The tender for the procurement of the proposed new chambers of parliament which will cost an estimated Shs 200 billion has been thrown back into controversy, after a whistle-blower wrote to the Inspector General of Government, claiming collusion between the PPDA and officials handling the procurement at parliament.

The July 16 petition received by the IGG, claims that senior officials at Parliament are in collusion with the regulator - the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority - "with the intention of making a fraudulent award of the proposed contract after a well-planned collusive cartel among two bidders".

Five firms - including Roko Construction Ltd, CRJE (East Africa) Ltd, China Civil Engineering Construction Company, China Complete Plant Import and Export, Seyani Brothers and Co. Ltd and Chinal National Aero-technology International have been tussling out for the tender.

The IGG had in May asked the PPDA to investigate the matter after she received complaints that the procurement was marred with corruption. On June 29 the Clerk to Parliament wrote to all bidders requesting them to extend their bids as the investigation takes shape before it's concluded and verdict delivered.

However, the investigation has raised eyebrows after an informer tipped off the IGG claiming that PPDA, "have colluded with Parliament with intention of making a fraudulent award of contract after a well-planned collusive cartel amongst two Bidders".

Both the PPDA and Parliament yesterday dismissed the latest allegations against the process, which have come amidst scramble by legislators for office space and may derail the process of building new chambers for the MPs.

Mr Chris Obore, the Director of Communications at Parliament challenged the whistle-blower saying the complainants should give chance to institutions of government to perform their duties.

"Upon directive of IGG to investigate, PPDA came to Parliament and we provided all the information they needed. The question is, if the whistle blower says PPDA is not doing a good job, then it appears the whistle blower does not believe in any institution and yet they keep petitioning the same institutions," said Mr Obore.

He said: "The petition at first was against Parliament now it is PPDA. The whistle-blower appears to be a self-righteousness person who does not believe in the work of others."

Mr Obore said Parliament is waiting for the report from PPDA to give a report and a away forward since the new chamber is needed.

PPDA Executive Director Cornelia Sabiiti said last evening that the body was still conducting investigations and "a report would be issued soon."

However, the dossier a copy of which Daily Monitor has seen alleges disagreements among the procurement team in Parliament and that the evaluation process was being done in a way that is predetermined to facilitate an award to a certain bidder.

"What does it show when in an open competitive process almost every bidder fails to technically qualify during an evaluation process" amidst claims of "members being threatened and blackmailed to succumb to the "orders from above"

The petition alleges that both Parliament and PPDA have kept a conservative approach on whether to make good a procurement that has been characterised by influence peddling; "after realising that a repeat of an alternative procurement process may lead to "unfavourable" results where officials have created an impression that if the process is repeated then the project would not be delivered on time".

"The PPDA law provides for quicker procurement alternatives like: Least cost method of procurement, restricted bidding to all bidders who submitted their bids with use of simplified bidding document issued to the bidders," reads the petition.

The petition also questions a move by the PPDA Director of Legal and Investigations, Mr Uthman Segawa, who on July 15, wrote to all the bidders and requested them to confirm whether they are aware of any influence peddling and unethical conduct in the procurement process, involving a member of the parliament's tender committee.

"Really is there any bidder who would confirm that they were involved in such an unethical conduct with a whole chairman of the evaluation when they know that the Entity may blacklist them after betraying them by disclosing such information?" the petition asks.

Source: The Monitor