UNRA to repair Jinja Kampala highway

By Deo Wasswa
Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) is set to commence emergency repairs of some sections of Kampala-Mukono- Jinja highways.

The planned work is intended to improve the pavement surface for road user comfort and reduce on the prevailing traffic queuing along the section as a result of poor road surface.

According to Mark Ssali UNRA spokesperson, the project which is expected to last for 9 months for the stretch between spear motors (Nakawa) and Mukono will commence on Saturday 13th July 2019.

Addressing press in Kampala today, Ssali said the first phase of emergency repair will take place in the section between Bweyogerere flyover and Namanve.

He says construction will be done at night between 11pm and 5 am to enable normal traffic flow during day time.

The 13 billion shillings project has been contracted by Energy project-Niskogradnia.

UNRA officials sentenced to five years of jail

By Sania Babirye

Anti corruption court Judge Lawrence Gidudu has this afternoon sentenced the two Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA)  officials and a businessman after convicting them of causing government a 24.7 billion financial loss in the shoddy work upgrade of the  Mukono -Katosi -Kyetume -Nyenga road  between 2013-2014.

These include  Businessman Apollo  Senkeeto who was convicted  of stealing UGX24.7 billion  when he falsely represented  himself as the country director of EUTAW Mississippi in Uganda where as not.

The second is Joe Semugooma the former  Uganda National Roads Authority’s  finance Director  who was found guilty of of Abuse of office  while  former UNRA accountant  Wilberforce Senjaako an accountat was convicted of  neglect of duty by failing to verify securities before  approving  an advance payment of 24.7 billion shilings to EUTAW company .

Senjaako  was also found guilty of forgery of Bank security guarantees and performance  bonds  which  Senkeeto uttered  to UNRA for purposes of fraudulently accessing the UGX24.7 billion  .
Meanwhile the same judge acquitted four co accused including former works and transport minister  Eng. Abraham Byandala, former UNRA ED Eng. Berunado Sebuuga, Marvin Baryaruha former UNRA legal adviser and Isaac Mugote  of housing finance bank.
 The group was  alleged to have regularly awarded the contract to rehabilitate the said  road to a non-existent company- EUTAW which is said to have  sub-contracted another company with no expertise and equipment to do the job.
On the 10th of October 2017, justice Gidudu ruled that Byandala and his co accused had a case to answer because the IGG had proved a pre-mafacie case against them,however the group has since maintained their innocence denying to have stolen the said public funds.
Apollo Senkeeto was  charged with theft and obtaining the contentious UGX24.7 bn  by falsely representing himself as the president of ETAW -Uganda, the ghost   company and a one  Isaac Mugote of   Housing Finance Bank who is accused of failing to  verify the securities presented by ETAW before releasing out the money

The accused  faced   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 had ordered the signing of a contract between UNRA and ETAW, 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.

The Inspector General  of Government  charged Byandala  with Abuse of office , causing government a financial loss and disobedience of  her orders to stop works on the Mukono-Katosi -Nyenga road.

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

But Justice Gidudu yesterday acquitted Byandala of any wrong doing saying he signed the contract in good faith and political pressure since the upgrade of the road had delayed since 2010 causing protests from the public.

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.

OMACH IS THE NEW UNRA BOARD CHAIR MAN

By Tukundane Yonna

Hon Jachan Omach the former state minister of finance has today been sworn in as the chairman of UNRA board. He succeeds Angella Kiryabwire whose tenure expired recently having been appointed in 2012.

Omach will be working with; Dr Umaru Bagampadde a representative of the ERB/UIPE, Eng Samson Bagonza to represent Ministry of works and transport, Dr Joseph Muvawala to represent NPA, Mr. Laban Mbulamuko to represent MOFPED, Mrs Petra Sansa to represent private sector and Ms Allen Kagina representing the Uganda National Roads Authority.

The board is charged with planning and caring out oversight of all UNRA works and assets.

Today’s ceremony  was presided over by Justice Lawrence Gidudu at Kampala Serena hotel and attended by the ministry of works engineer Monica Ntege Azuba, the state minister for works Gen. Katumba Wamala, outgoing board members and all UNRA senior management team led by the ED Mrs. Allen Kagina.

 

134 traffic offenders have been arrested

By Robert Ssegawa

A total of 134 traffic offenders have been arrested along the Kampala Masaka High way. They were arrested in operation “FIKA SALAAMA” conducted over weekend by police to crack down on in disciplined drivers.

Deputy police spokesperson Polly Namaye says the group has been arraigned in courts of laws on different traffic offences including overloading, over speeding and driving vehicle in poor mechanical condition.

The joint operation with ministry of Works and Transport and UNRA is still ongoing in the hot spots of Mpigi, Kamengo, and Buwama.

Photo: www.monitor.co.ug

UNRA purchases mobile weigh bridges to cub dodgy truck drivers

Uganda National Roads Authority-UNRA has acquired mobile weighbridges to trap truck drivers who dodge fixed weighbridge stations. The Authority has so far acquired three mobile weighbridges and has deployed them along Kampala-Gulu highway.

Each mobile weighbridge cost the Authority US $15,000 about Shillings 52,500,000. John Bosco Ssejemba, the head of enforcement UNRA, says the mobile weighbridges will be stationed on routes that are used by truck drivers to avoid the fixed weighbridges.

Allen Kagina, the URNA Executive Director, says the objective of the mobile weighbridges is not only to enforce guidelines but to change the behavior of truck drivers.

Kagina wants Parliament to amend the law to enable them issue express penalty receipts to truck drivers who are  found with excess load rather transferring them to court, which takes long yet some trucks carry perishable goods.

However, there is skepticism among drivers that the mobile weighbridges will achieve the purpose for which they have been acquired. Moses Kaweesi, the vice chairperson Regional Lorry Drivers and Transporters’ Association, says the enforcement may fail because of rampant corruption among UNRA officials.

He says once arrested the culprits will bribe off the way bridge controllers as it has been at fixed weighbridges. Kaweesi also faults for failing to standardize the way bridges, which he says prompts drivers to find alternative routes to avoid them.

Section 3 of  the traffic and road safety (weighbridges) regulations 2010, states that, the owner of a vehicle trailer or engineering plant which has gross weight which exceeds the total permissible combined axle load, shall not drive that vehicle, trailer or engineering plant on a road.

Section 13 (11) states that a person who refuses to submit his or her vehicle trailer or engineering plant for weighing at weighbridge commits an offense and mandates the magistrate to determine the penalties.

-URN

Government departments should learn a lesson from UNRA-World Bank incident: Kagina

The executive director Uganda national road authority Allen Kagina warns that the with draw of funds by world bank from Uganda’s road project should be a lesson to all Government departments not to ignore concerns raised by the community as they work on certain projects.

Addressing  journalists at Uganda  media centre kagina said that if the old managers  of UNRA  had addressed the issues that were raised by the communities  in fort portal  kamwenge road , the funds wouldn’t have been withdrawn by the  world bank.

The world bank withdrew funding  for   Fort portal  kamwenge road in December  last year following complaintd recieved by an independednt board.

Among other complaints were failure to manage stone quarries, mistreatment of workers,child labor. There were also serious allegations of road workers’ sexual relations with minor girls in the community, and sexual harassment of female employees sited.

World Bank also warned to review other world bank programs in Uganda and other countries to make the needed improvements.

30% road funds lost in corruption

30 percent of the annual funds given to the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) by the Uganda Road Fund for periodic maintenance of roads is lost.

An audit report by the Fund reveals that the UNRA headquarters and stations were unable to account for the funds every year.

Appearing before the UNRA probe commission, Uganda Road Fund Executive Director, Eng. Mark Odongo said the funds have been disappearing in failed supply of gravel and failure to carry out planned activities yet the funds are released.

While these loses were pointed out annually by the Uganda Road Fund’s internal audits and the Auditor General’s annual reports, no action was taken and government continued to lose funds every year.

Eng. Odongo told the commission that at one point, he wrote to the Minister of Finance, Matia Kasaija and asked that the Auditor General be requested to do forensic audit on UNRA. The audit was done and a report remains shelved in Parliament.

The unstable leadership at UNRA as another gap that made it impossible for action to be taken on the internal audit reports.

 

Source: URN