MPs unearth Shs5bn fraud on Fort Portal road project

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Members of Parliament have unearthed a number of irregularities in the awarding and execution of contracts at the local government level.

MPs on the Parliamentary Committee on Local Government are currently undertaking onsite visits to various projects in western Uganda.

The Committee was in Fort Portal on 24th May, 2017, carrying out audit queries for value for money projects for Fort Portal audit branch.

This includes the Usimik Road Project in Fort Portal Municipality, which is less than a kilometer, but has cost over Ushs 5billion.

The committee observed that the project has stalled as the contractor abandoned the site, with less than half of the work done.

“Whoever has misappropriated this money must refund it,” said Committee Chair, Hon. Reagan Okumu.

“The Committee is now tasked to establish who is responsible, who awarded the contract and who made this mess,” he added.

Okumu added that the provisions for proper drainage, lighting and tree planting along the road have not been adhered to.

The committee is also looking at schools construction and general works with different costs and varying rates. In addition, is the construction of the Fort Portal Municipal Building where has since stalled.

The Local Government Accounts Committee is meeting Accounting officers of Bunyoro, Toro, Kasese and Bundibugyo to respond to the Attorney General’s queries.

The meetings are being held at Rivera Hotel in Hoima from Monday 22nd to Friday 26th may 2017.

Okumu invited locals for the meetings and asked them to provide information about which roads, boreholes, or bridges were not worked on as expected for the committee to intervene.

Okumu added that parliament appropriates funds for the construction and maintenance of roads, boreholes, and hospitals to local governments.

The Government of Uganda through Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development signed an agreement with World Bank’s International Development Agency to undertake infrastructure development projects in 14 municipalities in Uganda.

The municipalities are Arua, Gulu, Lira, Soroti, Moroto, Tororo, Mbale, Jinja, Mbarara, Kabale, Fort Portal, Hoima, Entebbe and Masaka. The programme development objective is to enhance institutional capacity of selected municipalities to address urban service delivery gaps.