Byandala has a case to answer says Anti-corruption court

By Sania Babirye

Anti corruption court Justice Lawrence Gidudu has ruled that the former works minister Abraham Byandala and his six  co accused have a case to answer in the Mukono- Katosi road saga in which government lost over 24.7 billion shillings in shoddy upgrade work.

According to  Justice Gidudu, the Inspector General of Government Irene Mulyagonja proved a pr-mafacie case against the accused after presenting 23 witness.

Justice Gidudu has explained that Byandala and others authored documents and that they must individually explain why the authored them,  including the now minister without portfolio explaining to the tax payers why he did not take due diligence before signing off the  contract to a fake company costing the nation billions of shillings.

The IGG thorough her attorney Sarah Birungi charged Byandala  with Abuse of office , causing government a financial loss and disobedience of  her orders to stop the works on the Mukono-katosi -Nyenga road.

She accuses the former works Minister to have defied the order and instead influenced  the procurement process  and proceeded  to sign  the contract to an incompetent company  ETAW.

In his written submission, Byandala had claimed that he had the mandate  to give policy directives as a minister however Justice Gidudu has ruled that Byandala must explain whether  in his policy directive, it involved  directing UNRA to sign a contract to a ghost company.

Byandala’s co accused include the former Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) officials Berunado Ssebbugga, Joe Ssemugooma, Wilberforce Senjako and Marvin Baryaruha.

These are  charged with Abuse of office and negligence of their official duties resulting into the loss and must explain to whom they paid the  money to construct the road since EUTAW has never been seen at the site .

Others include  city businessman Apolo Senkeeto who has been ordered to defend himself against  allegations of theft and obtaining the contentious 24.7 billion  shillings  by falsely representing himself as the president of ETAW -Uganda, the ghost   company.

The last suspect is Isaac Mugote of   Housing Finance Bank who has been ordered to explain why he failed to verify the securities presented by ETAW before releasing out the money which  securities would have been a fall back position to government after investigations revealed that the company is non-existent.

However Byandala and his co accused maintained their innocence and had asked court to find a case of no answer against them on grounds that prosecution had not adduced  sufficient evidence to warrant their defense .

The accused are facing  24 counts of abuse of office,disobedience of lawful orders,influence and peddling,obtaining money by false pretense and embezzlement among others.

According to the IGG,on the 14th of  November  2013  Byandala ordered the signing of a contract between UNRA and Etawu, a construction company before due date for construction and upgrading of the road leading to the loss of  24.7  billion shillings to a company that was not qualified.

MPs THREATEN TO DEMONSTRATE OVER THE DELAYED CONSTRUCTION OF MBALE –TIRINYI ROAD

By Edwin Muhumuza

Members of parliament from the eastern region of Uganda have vowed to demonstrate on Monday next week if the Uganda National Roads Authority does not embark on works to finish the Mbale-Tirinyi Road.

Their disappointment stems from the numerous loss of lives along the road, whose construction was halted amid a scuffle between the contractor and UNRA, over shoddy work.

Fourteen Members of Parliament from Teso, Busoga, and the Elgon region have convened to voice their discontent against UNRA’s Executive Director,  Allen Kagina, accusing her of incompetence.

Among the main issues raised include increased road accidents, arising from haphazard construction works.

The cost of doing business on that road is very high, we are about to demonstrate in a match much worse than that of Amuru” said Nambeshe John Baptist.

A whooping shs.73bn has been sank in that project but you can hardly see that results.He added.

Kumi Municipality’s Aogon Cyrus said ,”do we always have to come to the press for somebody to do something for us. It should be done by Monday,or else we shall raise our feet eyes, the road must be fixed!

“The state of this particular road is a death trap since 2015,the entire road was excavated and has caused us trouble, everyday we witness accidents in Namutumba town council.”said Akamba Paul,representative for Busiki county.

Early this year the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) terminated their contract with construction company Dott Services on the rehabilitation of the Nakalama-Tirinyi-Mbale road, after a presidential directive to UNRA Executive Director, Allen Kagina to stop giving contracts to Dott Services which he referred to as ‘fraudulent’, before he made a U-turn.

Government picks up the slack on The Fort Portal -Kamwenge road

By Patricia Osman
Government has taken over the financing of the Fort portal Kamwenge road project.
In December 2015 year World Bank cancelled funding to the Uganda Transport Sector Development Project following contractual breaches related to workers’ issues, social and environmental concerns, poor project performance, and serious allegations of sexual misconduct and abuse by contractors.
World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim also said they found inadequacies in Bank supervision and lack of follow-through after serious issues were identified.

Government to Ban road reshaping contractor over untimely delivery

By Moses Kindandi
The Government has directed that the contractor currently working on municipality roads across the country be banned from getting any contracts  in Uganda until further notice.
Printh technical services was awarded a contract to re shape and building municipality roads in fourteen districts across the country under the Uganda support to municipal infrastructure development project.
The project is a World bank funded project  worth 150 million dollars for the first phase of 14 districts and the Bank says will only renew the loan for other districts if the initial project in the first 14 districts is successful.
The minister of state for urban development , Rosemary Najjemba Mbabali says the contractor was awarded a contract with conditions but has been slow in delivering the project.
Dr Isac Mutenyo the project coordinator of the project says they have cited delays in the biggest project in Mbale municipality which has led to several complaints from residents.
He says the contractor has been forced to change the design of the work after they realised that the project was having negative effects on the business community in Mbale municipality.
The said municipality roads include, Mbale, Moroto, Entebbe, Kabale, Fort Portal, Arua, Gulu, Lira, Soroti, Jinja, And Hoima among others.

Nakaseke facing transport challenges due to heavy rains

Transport is paralysed in several parts of Nakaseke district because of the heavy rains that have rendered several roads impassable.

The Most affected roads include Mugenyi-Kalagi-Kalagala, Kalagala-Lwamahungu-Kyamaheno, Lwesirizi-Kinoni-Biduku, Nakaseke-Kijege-Kasambya and Timuna-Lugogo, road which connects Nakaseke to Luweero district.

Most of the roads are flooded while some of them had their culverts washed away by the heavy rains. Benjamin Makanga, the Nakaseke District Works and Technical Service Secretary, says they couldn’t work on most of the roads ahead of the rain season because budget cuts.

He explains that they only received Shillings 24 million out of the Shillings 159 million they expected from the Finance, Planning and Economics Development Ministry in the last quarter.

The appalling state of the road has affected the transportation of milk, charcoal; cattle and agriculture produce. John Rwomushana, a pastoralist in Kinoni Sub County says they are unable to transport their milks to the market because of the impassable roads.

William Ssemeere, a farmer in Kivule village in Kasangombe Sub County, says the poor state of the roads has prompted transporters to hike fares.
Anifa Namubiru, a resident along Timuna-Lugogo road says even pupils fear to cross some roads for fear in the flood water. Ignatius Koomu, the Nakaseke LC 5 Chairperson, says their hands are tied.

According to Koomu, in 2012 they received an incomplete road unit from government, which would have been instrumental in fixing the road network.

Recently, people along Timuna-Lugogo road staged a demonstration to protest the poor state of the roads in the district. The 2014/2015 financial year auditor General’s report show that 74 percent of the 1849 kilometer road network in Nakaseke is impassable.

-URN

ACCIDENT: 2 Daily Monitor staff dead.

At least two Daily Monitor Staff have died while two others are seriously injured in an accident that occurred along the Mbale-Tirinyi highway in Budaka district on Sunday.

The newspaper said, “The Daily Monitor car delivering newspapers in Mbale and Soroti rammed into a stationed Fuso lorry UAM 983C at Nabweyo, killing the duo instantly,”

Driving hazards include: broken-down vehicles in the road, pedestrians in the road, drunk drivers, stray animals, poor road conditions, and the possibility of armed robbery. Under normal driving conditions, drivers contend with excessive speed, unpredictable local driving habits, pedestrians/livestock in the roadway, commuter bus drivers who ignore traffic laws, and vehicles that are not roadworthy (including lack of brake/indicator lights).

The deceased according to a brief statement by the newspaper have been identified as Tony Kaddu, a driver and Daniel Adda from the circulation department.

While general vehicles travel during daylight hours on both paved and unpaved roads is considered relatively safe, varying conditions of the roadways (including numerous potholes) combined with excessive speed can lead to serious accidents. In some areas, piles of trash, missing manhole covers, gaping ditches/potholes, wayward/oblivious pedestrians, and animals are threats to vehicular safety on the streets.

According to eyes witnesses it took more than thirty minutes to retrieve the bodies from the wreckage of the vehicle that was stuck under the truck. This is the latest in a string of road accidents that have claimed many lives during the festive season.

Police enforcement of road safety and traffic laws is minimal but appears to be improving. The general lack of an immediate police/emergency response to traffic accident scenes often results in delayed emergency service response.


 

Accidents can draw angry, potentially violent crowds in a very short period. It is recommended that anyone involved in an accident immediately notify the police.