SGR Deal: Works PS Admits Flaunting Procurement Guidelines

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Government violated the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Act-PPDA during the procurement of the contractor of the Standard Gauge Railway, the select committee of parliament heard on Tuesday.

Alex Okello Bwangamoi at Soroti Flying School Control Tower-mt-20131118-174030

Alex Okello Bwangamoi, the works and transport permanent secretary disclosed this while appearing before the select committee investigating the Standard Gauge Railway contract.

The select committee, which is chaired by Robert Kafeero Ssekitoleko., the Nakifuma County MP is investigating circumstances that led to the termination of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Uganda and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) for the upgrade of the railway line from Malaba to Kampala.

Bwangamo told the committee that, the works ministry followed the Chinese the procurement process, since the project was to be undertaken using funds from the Exim Bank of China.

He explained that, under the Chinese procedure if Exim China bank finances a project, a Chinese firm must be awarded the deal.

However, the MPs wouldn’t have any of this. They faulted government for succumbing to pressure from another country to extent of violating the laws of the land.

MPs Maxwel Akora, Patrick Amuriat and Rosemary Nyakikongoro noted that the money to finance the project is not a grant but a loan that should be treated as such to ensure value for money.

They pointed to collusion and connivance by government officials to circumvent procurement laws in order to award the contract to Chinese harbor construction company.

Akora said the Chinese procurement arrangement does not in any way override sovereign procurement laws.

Robert Kafeero Ssekitoleko, the select committee chair noted that the submission by the Works Ministry PS would be used by the committee to make recommendations to Parliament in its report.

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