MPs cite poor debates if canteen remains closed

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Parliament canteen

Members of Parliament and other parliamentary staff are still stranded after the Parliamentary canteen was closed and the contract awarded to a new company.

They are now concerned that the indefinite closure of the canteen will affect the business inside parliament.

This situation resulted from a two-year food deal worth more than Shs8bn which was given to a new company called Romeo’s Restaurant through a process allegedly marred by bribery, abuse of procedure and impunity.

Parliament’s evaluation committee chaired by Sergeant-at-Arms Ahmed Kagoye, dumped Hellenar’s Restaurant which had been providing catering services to MPs and staff for more than two years and awarded the deal to Romeo’s Restaurant.

Hellenar’s Restaurant petitioned the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA) over the sudden change on August 14, 2018.

The director of Hellenar’s Restaurant, Walter Anywar, also petitioned the clerk to Parliament on June 18, 2018.

Jane Kibirige, the clerk to Parliament, said all bidders lacked experience and downplayed the significance of the breach of rules.

After Kibirige rejected the request for administrative review, Hellenar’s Restaurant appealed to PPDA on August 14, 2018 and accused the clerk of bias and wrongly concluding that Hellenar’s Restaurant had no requisite experience.

Anywar claimed that Kibirige determined the complaint on false assumption that his company had not paid fees (Shs5m) for administrative review.

Although the Parliamentary Commission had in one of the meetings resolved that Hellenar’s Restaurant should continue providing services, the procurement of a new service provider was advertised in November 2017 before the two-year contract expired.

Hellenar’s Restaurant applied for judicial review of the bidding process and on December 21, 2018 court issued an injunction maintaining the status-quo at Parliament until the matter was disposed of.

Kibirige locked the restaurant on Tuesday and told Hellenar’s Restaurant to wait for conclusion of the court process.

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