Minister’s son loses bid to block works on World Bank-funded roads

Lira High court has thrown-out State Minister for Defence,Charles Engola’s son injunction to block the construction of roads under the World Bank’s Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development (USMID) project in Lira Municipality

LIRA – Lira High Court on Monday quashed an application seeking to block the construction of roads under the World Bank’s Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development (USMID) project in Lira Municipality.

Through his lawyer Okot P B’tek, Mr Samuel Engola, a civil engineering student at Uganda Technical College Lira, sought an injunction to the stop the roadworks, arguing that they were not taking into consideration three critical aspects, including safety, environment and economic cost.

Mr Engola, who is a son to State Minister for Defence Col (Rtd) Okello Charles Engola, also pointed out the absence of inadequate turning points for both cyclists and vehicles, which limit accessibility to business premises, lack of crossing spacing for persons with disabilities, and failing by the authorities to display the technical design.

He also wanted court to compel Lira Municipality to publicly display the artistic impression of Obote Avenue, which is being built under the project. The road stretches from Lira district headquarters main road and up to Soroti road.

However, the Lira High Court Deputy Registrar, Mr Rosemary Abireebe, quashed the application, saying it had been overtaken by events since the road construction is almost completed. She also awarded Lira Municipal Council costs of the suits.

Mr Patrick Ogweng, the Lira municipal deputy town clerk, welcomed the ruling. According to Mr Ogweng, senior engineers advised Engola to be patient with his demands since the works were still ongoing. He said they will meet with their lawyers to decide how much the petitioner should pay them in legal costs.

Engola declined to comment on the matter, saying he was only fighting the abnormalities on the roads.

Residents of Lira town in July protested what they described as the sub-standard construction works on three roads under USMID project. The roads being upgraded include Obote Avenue, Kwania road and Soroti road.

Residents said Soroti road stretching from the Post Office up to Uhuru Barr and part of Obote Avenue is very narrow. Some of the roads that have since been rehabilitated and tarmacked include the famous Oyite Ojok Lane, Aroma, Oyam road, Maruzi and Hamobai among others.

The 2.8-kilometre roads are being constructed by the Chongqing International Construction Corporation (CICO) at the total cost of 18 billion shillings, including the beautification of Coronation Park, an open space along Obote Avenue.

The 14 municipalities that are benefiting from the USMID project include Arua, Gulu, Lira,  Soroti, Moroto, Mbale, Tororo, Jinja, Entebbe, Masaka (Central); Mbarara, Kabale, Fort Portal and Hoima.



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