By Joyce Namutebi
and Winniefred Nanteza
A total of 94 engineers were de-registered last year, Anania Mbabazi, the president of the Uganda Institute of Professional Engineers, has said.
The institute regulates civil, mechanical, electrical and other engineers in Uganda.
â€œLast year, we de-registered 94 members for various offences. We are in the process of penalising those involved in construction accidents,â€ Mbabazi said.
He was speaking at the closing of the National Technology Conference at Statistics House over the weekend.
The institute, he noted, had set up a special team to review and monitor construction safety.
Without naming the black-listed engineers, he said legal battles were likely to come up as a result of the various disciplinary measures taken against errant engineers.
According to the latest edition of the Construction Magazine, the instituteâ€™s council suspended 14 engineers following the release of the report on the collapse of the NSSF building in October 2008.
Seven people died and two were injured when an excavation for the proposed NSSF Pension Towers on Lumumba Avenue gave in.
Prof. John Senfuma, the lead structural engineer, was indefinitely suspended from the instituteâ€™s membership, while Nicholas Gumbo, a Kenyan who was not registered in Uganda, was banned from being registered or practicing in the country.
Also blacklisted in connection with the NSSF accident were Ole Ursin, a Danish national, Nathaniel Omwolo (Kenyan), Dragomir Lakic, Nesovic Radovan and Zoran Lalic, all Serbians. Others on the list are Roko engineers A. Sonnet, R.K. Natrajan, Mohamed Khalid and Borbe Vista.
At least one engineer has taken Mbabazi to court over â€˜defamationâ€™ and â€˜loss of businessâ€™, demanding sh80m in damages. The newspapers have been warned by his lawyers against publishing any negative stories about their client.
Mbabazi in his address appealed to works minister and patron of the institute, John Nasasira, to join him in fighting the legal battles to make the industry safer.
Energy minister Hillary Onek, who is an engineer himself, urged the Institute of Professional Engineers to certify all buildings that were completed according to the engineering procedures.