Wednesday, October 3, 2012
IS THERE ANY HOPE TO SEE CLEAN BIDS IN MUSEVENI'S REMAINING TIME?
President Museveni surely has so many expenditures whose source of funding is very unclear. His military roles in the region, so many people allegedly on payroll for whatever they do to see his regime survive. Chances are that he may be tempted to use people in Government offices to do wrong things such that at the end of the day some funds are realized for his empire and influence. William Kituuka Kiwanuka ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ OFFICIALS SMUGGLE BIDS IN $2BN KARUMA DEAL By Yasiin Mugerwa Posted Wednesday, October 3 2012 at 08:55 Officials in the Ministry of Energy accepted bids for the long-delayed and controversy-hit Karuma hydropower deal which were reportedly smuggled to the contracts committee, it emerged Tuesday evening. Junior Energy minister Simon D'Ujanga told MPs on the House Energy Committee investigating allegations of corruption in the $2 billion Karuma deal that bids from companies which were not pre-qualified found their way to the evaluation committee in breach of procurement procedures. Pre-qualification is the process of screening of potential contractors to develop a list of qualified bidders who would then be invited tobid. The procurement breach, contained in the minister’s confidential document, to the committee was singled out by Aswa MP Reagan Okumu who demanded an explanation from the minister. “From your statement we are seeing ghost companies being smuggled into the contracts committee. Can the minister explain the circumstances under which Salini S.p.A and Sinohydro-CMC Karuma JV submitted bids for consideration,” Mr Okumu asked. Confirming what legislators have called, “open” abuse of procedures the minister said contracts committee, sitting March 15, 2011, approved the pre-qualification of Salini Construttori SpA but the bids they received were from Salini S.p.A. Another company pre-qualified company was SinoHydro C.M.C but the bids belonged to Sinohydro-CMC Karuma JV. The minister’s statement also shows that instead of Perlite Construction, it was Perlite Construction Company that submitted the bids. Salini S.p.A is one of the companies which have petitioned the public procurements authority for an administrative review of the evaluation process. But before the outcome of the review Salini S.p.A secured a High Court injunction stopping the process. “There is something fishy about the procurement for this Karuma project. For instance, why did the contracts committee open the bids which were not pre-qualified? The accounting officer even went ahead to waste taxpayers money in a hopeless administrative review,” Alex Ruhunda (Fort Portal Municipality) said. PS Kabagambe Kaliisa, the accounting officer, didn’t answer calls. Parliament’s investigation comes after a Kampala court last week issued fresh orders directing the government and all authorities to stop considering a bid to build the Karuma Hydro Power Dam. The orders followed a petition filed by a private citizen, Mr Twine Muganga, on September 10 in which the government was asked to withhold the feared award of the contract a Chinese company, China International Water and Electric Corporation, which stands accused of having falsified bid documents. There was some drama when Mr D’Ujanga and Eng. Paul Mubiru, the director for energy and mineral development, could not remember Mr Muganga’s particulars, prompting the committee to kick him out with instructions to return on Thursday with a full explanation about the apparent breach of in procurement procedures. Energy committee chair Michael Werikhe yesterday said: “We are not going to injure the legal process in any way. Our view is that as a committee, we cannot keep quiet on the Karuma project when we read in the papers that all is not right. The consequences will be dire if we don’t get it right.”