China Railway Group Limited (CREC), the latest Chinese firm to express interest in construction of the Standard Gauge Railway in Uganda has asked Ugandan Legislators to consider its bid as a solution to the controversy surrounding the project.
The Plea was presented to members of the select committee of parliament investigating the contested procurement of a contractor for the multi-trillion Standard Gauge Railway-(SGR) during a meeting in Beijing, China.
The visit was organized as part of the investigation into the multi-trillion deal for the Construction of the Eastern Line of the Standard Gauge Railway in Uganda which raised controversy following the cancellation of an MOU that had been signed with China Civil Engineering Corporation (CCECC).
It was later awarded to China Harbor Engineering Corporation (CHEC) without following the right procedure.
China Railway Group Limited first expressed interest in the construction of the SGR through a January 13th, 2015 letter addressed to the committee chairman who is currently leading an ongoing inquiry into how the initial contract was handled.
In a four page letter, Shi Yuan, the East African Representative of China Railway Group Limited, said that the firm was working on similar projects in Ethiopia which are nearing completion.
The Group is constructing the 335km Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway line, the biggest in Africa. It has been involved in the construction of 36 railway projects in Africa, Li Xiaosheng, the Deputy Chief Economist and Director General of International Business Development of CREC said.
Xiaosheng urged the committee to consider his organization for the construction of the Ugandan Railway adding that CREC was capable of doing a good job as evidenced by the number of projects that company has carried out worldwide.
However, Committee Chairperson Robert Kafeero Ssekitoleko informed the management of CREC that the Committee was not responsible for award of contracts but that they would report back on what they had been impressed upon.
“We shall now be in a better position to defend your capacity to carry out projects of this nature after seeing what you are doing in Ethiopia,” Ssekitoleko said.
The Committee which is in China from 24th to 31st January 2015 will also visit railway construction sites in Guangzhou