KAMPALA – Parliament’s inquiry into the alleged mismanagement of close to Shs50 million meant for works on the Isimba dam and adjacent bridge hit a snag on Wednesday, 29 January 2020 when invited officials from the energy companies did not show up sending their junior officers.
The Physical Infrastructure Committee which is handling the inquiry prematurely adjourned its meeting after the Executive Directors of Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited (UETCL) and Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited (UEGCL) respectively did not turn up with no apologies.
Legislators on the committee condemned the behavior of the two bosses of the electricity companies for repeatedly declining invitations to Parliament on matters involving their dockets.
“We are displeased with the executive directors of UEGCL and UETCL because in an investigation like this, things are bound to get tough and an officer who is delegated can’t be held responsible,” said the Chairperson of the committee, Hon Kafeero Ssekitoleko.
The committee directed that the two directors avail written explanations in the next meeting on Thursday, 30 January 2020.
“That meeting will not happen if the two directors are not present with a written explanation about their actions,” said Kafeero Ssekitoleko.
The committee was equally dismayed that the new Minister for Energy and Mineral Development, Hon Mary Goretti Kitutu did not honor their invitation. The Minister was represented by the State Minister for Energy, Hon Simon D’Ujanga.
The committee is investigating the breach of procedures while procuring contractors for the Isimba dam under the guise of a presidential directive.
The committee was informed that President Yoweri Museveni in 2013, wrote to the Ministers of Energy, Finance and the Attorney General directing on the choice of contractors for Isimba, Karuma and Ayayo dams.
In his letter, the President said that he had negotiated with the then Chinese Ambassador to Uganda on the choice of contractors, prompted by delays in procurement.
“The President should leave some of these things to follow proper channels of procurement. This is in good faith; I am an NRM member but this kind of deliberate disrespect of institutions should stop,” said Pentagon Kamusiime (NRM, Butemba County).
The Bunyole West MP, Hon James Waluswaka said that even when the president has guided on procurements, the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority(PPDA) must be involved to ensure guidelines are followed.
“Even direct procurement is procurement; this was a public project and PPDA was supposed to be involved in preparing bidding documents and negotiations,” Waluswaka said.
The Speaker Rebecca Kadaga directed that an inquiry be carried out following unexplained delays in the construction of the Kayunga-Kamuli Bridge which was part of the Isimba dam contract.
The speaker said that she had reports that the funds meant for the bridge had been misappropriated and that culprits had been made known to the President.