MINISTER, MPS BLOCKED FOR SAFETY REASONS; LUBOWA HOSPITAL INVESTOR


By Jolly Gwari

The Secretary of the treasury, Keith Muhakanizi has been accused of perpetuating impunity after he authored a letter blocking the Minister of Healthy Ruth Aceng, Ps Diana Atwine and members of parliament from accessing the construction site of the proposed International Specialized Hospital in Lubowa, Wakiso district. 

Earlier, in a letter dated August 2, 2019, and addressed to the deputy speaker of parliament, Keith Muhakanizi the permanent secretary/secretary to the treasury warned MPs and other government officials from visiting the construction site. “As I mentioned on the phone, the government of Uganda handed over the construction site to the project company (Finasi/Roko Construction SPV Limited).

The site is no longer in the hands of government and government officials cannot, therefore, move on and off the site at will.” Muhakanizi wrote in the letter.  

Notably, the incident left many wondering what would be the intention of blocking the group of a legislator from the National Economy Committee and the healthy minister from inspecting the site.

They found the gate to the site sealed with a grader and a pickup truck parked at the entrance of the facility, which is fenced with green iron sheets without the inscription of FINASI/ROKO SPV like the case was before.  However, Finasi/ROKO Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) has explained why they turned away members of parliament and health officials from touring the construction site of the International Specialized Hospital Uganda-ISHU.  Irene Ochwo, the Public Relations Officer Finasi/ROKO, says the unfortunate incident was caused by the lack of appropriate notification to the SPV team regarding the intended visit.

 The statement notes that it is critical procedure at all construction sites that health and safety measures must be sufficiently adhered to at all times for all persons, including visitors, as there are heavy moving equipment and machinery on-site and open trenches among others that are potentially hazardous to human life if not well managed. 

 “This requires proper planning and safety measures to be taken prior to admission of members of the public into the site. This is an industry practice as well as standard operating procedures for construction of a site” the statement reads. 

The statement further notes that SPV requires prior reasonable notice to prepare health and safety gears and apparel as well as to conduct health and safety induction for the visitors”. “It is common knowledge that if any personal injury or other damage occurs on the site, responsibility for such injury or damage falls squarely with the contractor,” the statement reads. 

Finasi international FZC also says it would have been helpful to know the purpose and length of the visit as well as the number of visitors so that the required apparatus is availed ahead of time.

They have asked Ministry and MPs to notify them earlier if they are to go for a visit to the facility. “It is hoped that the Ministry of health as the Owner of the project can give adequate notice for the next visit so that adequate arrangements can be made,” reads the statement.   

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