KAMPALA- Finasi/Roko Construction SPV Limited the company that was contracted by The Ministry of Health to construct a specialised hospital at Lubowa has spoken out on the fiasco surrounding the manner in which MPs and Ministry of Health officials were barred from accessing the site.
In a statement issued yesterday, Finasi Roko Construction feigned ignorance about the visit arguing they learnt about the matter from media reports, an indication that construction workers were on site without supervision from the team of Finasi.
Finasi also blamed the Ministry of Health for ambushing the contractor and failing to abide by their contractual agreement to notify the contractor ahead of the visit describing the fracas as unfortunate incident that was caused by the lack of appropriate notification to the SPV regarding the intended visit.
The statement read in part, “It would have been helpful to know the purpose and length of visit as well as the number of persons intended for admission to site, so that the required apparatus/ equipment are assembled and made available. It is hoped that the Ministry of Health as the owner of the project can give adequate notice for the next visit so the necessary arrangements can be made. Once again, the SPV regrets the inconvenience caused.”
Finasi also schooled the Ministry of Health on what they described as the critical procedure at all construction sites that require health and safety measures to be sufficiently adhered to at all times for all persons including visitors.
The contractor said that the site has heavy moving machinery and equipment, open trenches among other things that are hazardous to human life if not well managed arguing that such conditions require proper planning and safety measures to be taken prior to admission of members of the public into the site arguing that this is an industry practice as well as standard operating procedures for a construction site.
Finasi also defended the blocking of the Ministry and lawmakers on the project works investment agreement signed between the project company and the Government that requires prior reasonable notice to the SPV to prepare health and safety gear and apparel as well as conduct health and safety induction to the intended visitors.
“It is common knowledge that if any personal injury or other damages occur on site, responsibility for such injury or damage falls squarely with the contractor. In order to properly manage this kind of risk, the entry of any person who is not a construction worker onto the site must be arranged well ahead of time,” read in part the statement.
While at the site, Minister of Health, Ruth Aceng said she cannot explain why they have been blocked from accessing the site and was quick to give reference to a letter by the Secretary to the Treasury, Keith Muhakanizi written to Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah stopping MPs from visiting the site.
In his 2nd August letter Muhakanizi noted that no government official can visit Lubowa construction site following pending ongoing legal disputes between Finasi and Roko adding that the construction site is “no longer in the hands of government and that government officials cannot move on and off the site at will.
“Secondly, as guided by the Deputy Attorney General when he appeared before the Committee on National Economy on August 01, issues relating to the construction site at Lubowa are the subject of pending litigation. Accordingly, government officials cannot be deliberating let alone entering upon the very site which is subject of the pending litigation,” Muhakanizi says in his letter.
However, Muhakanizi’s letter was rejected by MPs who argued that he had no powers to dictate how Parliament conducts their oversight role with Thomas Tayebwa (Ruhinda North) one of the earlier supporters of the project remarking, “Does Muhakanizi have powers to block us from playing our oversight role? It is impunity of the highest level from people who have powers. We appropriate funds and we must oversee works. Works are going on but there is no supervision from the government. Not even the government engineer has been allowed in.”