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Two top Museveni ministers fight over hospital donations

Rtd Col Charles Okello Engola, the state for defense and Betty Amongi of land, housing and urban development clashed over Chinese donation to build a hospital in Oyam District. (PML Daily collage photo)

KAMPALA- Two ministers close to President Yoweri Museveni are embroiled in a bitter fight.

According to information available, the duo is clashing over a donation by Sinoydro Corporation Company Ltd, a Chinese company constructing Karuma hydropower dam.

The company offered to build a hospital as part of corporate social responsibility in a 15 radius area in Oyam District.

PML Daily has learnt that the ministers in the battle over the site for the proposed hospital are Betty Amongi of land, housing and urban development and Rtd Col Charles Okello Engola, the state for defense.

Minister Amongi claims they secured 100-acre of land at Diicwinyi village in Kamdini Sub County to build the hospital but Okello Engola also alleges that the land is ready at Iceme Sub County waiting for the construction to kick off.

Real battle

According to information obtained by this website, in a social media message on Tuesday, Rtd Col Engola blasted minister Amongi claiming she accused him to President Yoweri Museveni over the matter.

Minister Okello Engola says sh1.5b has been reserved for the construction of the hospital.

However, this website has further learnt that they reduced to building a health centre IV.

“Hon. Betty I want to appreciate you for insulting me and fabricated lies on me that I mocked Prime Minister before the President and I pray that God gives you more strength to continue,” Rtd Col Engola said in the WhatsApp message.

The duo has been embroiled in the fight over the site to build the proposed hospital, for now, two years.

The district identified lands in three sub-counties which include Myene, Aleka and Iceme but the technical team from the ministry zeroed on Iceme because the site has electricity and water.

“It is the ministry of Energy and Mineral Development going to build the hospital, not Sinohydro because Sinohydro is just a contractor and has no liberty to dictate on us,” Rtd Col Engola said on phone.

Col Okello posted a statement made by Minister Amongi while appearing on QFM radio in Lira saying he mocked Prime minister who chaired a committee of seven ministers that was instituted to resolve the row.

According to Amongi, the committee includes Health Minister Dr. Ruth Aceng, minister of local government, Tom Butime, minister for energy and mineral development, Irene Muloni, state minister for northern Uganda, Grace Freedom Kwicuwiny, 2rd deputy prime minister Moses Ali and two other from UEGCL and Sinohydro.

“Initially the ministry of health identified 100 acres of land at Iceme but Sinohydro Corporation denied saying it is not within their project area of 15km radius,” Amongi explained on radio.

“They took the soil sample of the land at Diicwinyi village and tested and zeroed on the land and produced an architectural drawing,” the minister claimed.

Responding to Rtd Col Okello allegation, Amongi said she was invited for a talk show called crossfire and was asked a question she answered as posted based on facts.

“How is that construed as fighting someone who accused me also before His Excellency [Museveni] in broad daylight?” she asked in WhatsApp message.

“People should stop taking me for granted.”

Sinoydro, a Chinese company contracted by the government through the ministry of Energy and Mineral Development is building a $1.7b (about sh5trillion) hydropower project at Karuma dam which is expected to add 600MW to the national grid.

Recently Uganda Electricity Generation Company Ltd, corporate affairs manager, Simon Kasyate said they will build two hospitals as part of corporate social responsibility.

It is still not clear whether the duo will come to one agreed positions as efforts to get comments from both ministers remained futile.

 

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