WAKISO- The Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) is on the spot over accusations of bribery in the award of the contract for the construction of the Busega-Mpigi expressway.
The accusations are contained in a petition to the Inspector General of Government, Ms Irene Mulyagonja, by a whistleblower, who claims that UNRA awarded the road contract to the fourth lowest bidder, who had quoted more money, instead of the lowest person.
In his June 21 letter, the whistleblower claims that whereas the lowest bidder had given a quotation of Shs390.8b to construct the 23.7km road, the UNRA Procurement Directorate instead gave to one who quoted Shs534.1b, meaning government stands to lose Shs143.2b.
The contract was awarded to a joint partnership of China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation and China Railway 19th Bureau Group Co Ltd (CCECC & CRBGC).
“It should be brought to your notice that it is nearly one year since the UNRA Procurement Directorate opened the bids on 31st August, 2017. The top management in UNRA has been frustrating the procurement by imposing on the agency’s Procurement Directorate and Evaluation Committee the 4th lowest evaluated bidder instead of the lowest, eligible, compliant and substantially responsive bidder as the PPDA Act directs,” the whistleblower states in his letter to the IGG.
“Therefore, madam IGG, it is my humble request that you crack the whip as soon as possible and save the country from this loss because the illegal procurement is inevitable. I have information that UNRA officials are doing this in expectation of a huge financial award from the top officials of CCECC & CRBGC which is high level corruption that your office needs to stop as soon as possible,” the petitioner adds.
When contacted, UNRA spokesperson Mark Ssali denied the allegations and said the contract for the road has not been awarded and that the evaluation process is still ongoing.
Invitation for bids were issued in August 2017 and 12 foreign firms expressed interest in executing the project. The construction will be financed by the African Development Bank (AfDB).