Uganda National Roads Authority [UNRA] has described as “false” and “sensational” media reports on top directors and procurement processes.
The reports implied a supposed crisis engulfing Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) senior leaders namely; Mary Kamuli Kuteesa (Director Legal Services), and John Omeke Ongimu (Director Procurement).
A false, malicious and unanimous whistleblower letter was written to the Inspector General of Government (IGG) citing a conflict of interest on the part of Mary Kamuli Kuteesa, the Director Legal Services and Member of the Contracts Committee at UNRA, the authority said.
The said Whistleblower alleged that Mrs. Mary Kamuli Kuteesa had participated in the award of a contract to Chinese companies China Wuyi and China Communications Construction Company Limited (CCCC) which are clients of her husband’s Law Firm without declaring a conflict of interest.
In a letter dated January 9, 2018 the IGG tasked the UNRA Executive Director Ms. Allen Kagina to investigate the matter and revert to her office within 30 days.
The ED UNRA tasked the Investigations and Compliance office, which subsequently inquired into the accuracy of the allegations.
The Compliance Office interacted with Mr. Paul Kuteesa and all his Partners, made correspondences to the companies mentioned in the report to verify the said allegations.
It was established that neither Mary Kuteesa’s husband nor any of the Partners in his Law Firm had ever represented or was at the time representing the said Chinese companies involved in bidding for civil works at UNRA.
This established that the said allegation was false, malicious and there was no conflict of interest on the person of Mary Kamuli Kuteesa as a Member of UNRA’s Contracts Committee and as such no apparent disadvantage to any other firms that were involved in the bidding process.
A report detailing these findings was written and submitted to the IGG. On the part of the Director Procurement, Management categorically states that John Omeke Ongimu went through a rigorous established UNRA recruitment Process, was interviewed by the UNRA Board and was picked as the most suitable and qualifying candidate for the position of the Director Procurement.
Engineer John Omeke Ongimu underwent the vetting and verification process and all his previous employers highly commended him for the job.
His track record is therefore not in dispute. Mr. Omeke is a Procurement Management professional with a background of Civil Engineering training and experience of more than 20 years in public and private sectors.
He is a certified member of Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS), Public-Private Partnership (PPP) and International Development Project Manager (IDPM).
His experience ranges from supervising and coordinating African Development Bank and other International development donor funded projects as a senior procurement and contracting expert.
The article published in the Saturday Pepper further advances that the Executive Director wrote to the IGG, we quote; “…in a letter dated August 6, Kagina wrote again to the IGG, suggesting that the implicated officials be helped to keep their jobs.
(“The Board is on my neck to know the status of UNRA staff that are under investigation by IGG, they might lose their jobs if they are not helped….”).”
No such writing or letter does exist from the ED UNRA to the IGG. It is fabricated to suit unknown selfish interests of some unknown parties. In short, it is a good case of unethical reporting.
“It is therefore our submission that the stories being propagated by a section of rumour mills are tainted with malice to misrepresent the office of the IGG and to further advance that there is an apparent crisis at the Road’s Authority,” UNRA said.
The said letters and media reports are purely intended to malign and character assassinate persons of good repute, integrity and skill working to deliver services efficiently to all Ugandans.
These stories should be disregarded with the contempt they deserve. It should be stressed that UNRA’s nature of work is of interest to numerous parties and as a result attracts a number of whistleblower complaints and this tends to interfere in the due procurement processes.
This has happened particularly on the procurement for the Rukungiri–Kihihi/Ishasha–Kanungu road and the Busega-Mpigi Expressway.
The UNRA Executive Director has also expressed concern on this matter in a letter written to the Minister of Works and Transport dated 05th July, 2018 expressing the nature of biased, unfounded allegations and complaints in the whistleblower reports hinged on promoting a selfish agenda than national interests.
UNRA is under the guidance of the Board of Directors who are executing their policy and accountability oversight and any allegations of differences with management is at the best fanciful imagination and should be treated as that.
“We therefore appeal to the anonymous whistleblowers to allow the entity the chance to complete procurement processes without undue distractions and interference.”