Local government in Shs80b tender award scandal
Posted by Risdel Kasasira & Hudson Apunyo
on Monday, October 10 2011 at 00:00
Bribery allegations have hit the Ministry of Local Government following the awarding of tenders to reconstruct and redesign seven upcountry and urban markets.
Although Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets (PPDA) has ordered the halting of the procurement process over the corruption allegations, the ministry has gone ahead with the Shs80 billion reconstruction process.
This was after one of the firms that bidded for reconstruction of Lira Main Market wrote to PPDA and the permanent secretary of the ministry, Mr Muhanguzi Kashaka, alleging that they were kicked out of the bidding process after failing to pay a bribe of Shs500 million to the Assistant Commissioner Urban Inspection, Mr Yasin Ssendaula.
The Managing Partner of Dolamite Engineering Limited, Mr Rogers Matsiko, also claims that ministry officials siphoned their genuine tender documents. “This involved removal of our key documents for the bid and smuggling in forged documents in order to make our bid non-compliant and non-responsive,” he said in a letter to Mr Kashaka on August 22. However, Mr Ssendaula has denied the allegations, describing the complainants as “blackmailers”. “They didn’t have a physical address or records to show for their serious previous works. That is why they lost,” he said.
The minister of security, Mr Muruli Mukasa, has also written to Local Government minister Adolf Mwesige, saying the procurement process should be halted. “I have been informed by Dolamite Engineering that their bid to construct Lira Main Market is being frustrated by Yasin Ssendaula. Dolamite was the best company among the twelve that bidded for the contract,” Mr Mukasa said
In response, Mr Kashaka instead accused Dolamite of using influential people to win the tender. “Dolamite has been desperately seeking to influence the process of the award of the tender in their favour by approaching very senior citizens to help them, which is an illegal act,” he said.
Lira Market, which is one of the seven urban markets to be reconstructed, was last week handed over to Arab Contractors (U) Limited to start work, while Wandegeya Market has been given to Complant, a Chinese firm. The construction of the markets came after the government received a $38 million (about Shs108b) loan from Africa Development Bank.