By Henry Ssekanjako
KAMPALA - MPs on the physical infrastructure committee investigating the Mukono–Katosi road fraud have questioned Eutaw Construction Company Incorporated (ECCI) over its relationship with CICO, a Chinese company which was sub-contracted to help in the construction works of the 74km road.
The Police, the IGG and Parliament are investigating allegations that Eutaw forged an insurance bond purportedly from Statewide Insurance Company (SWICO), upon which sh24.7b advance payment was released to the company for the sh165b project.
The MPs, led by committee chairperson, Ephraim Biraro, discovered that Eutaw, the company that was contracted by the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA), was not the one doing the work on ground.
“The firm that was given the contract is not the one on the ground. There is a sub-contact between Eutaw and CICO,” said Kawuma Mohammed (Entebbe Municipality).
Simon Peter Aleper, the committee vice-chairperson, added: “Can we understand the relationship between Eutaw and CICO, when was this other company contracted? Eutaw proved that it had all the capacity, why did it ask for advance payment?”
The committee, which was touring the road works on Thursday, was also told that upon getting the contract from UNRA, sh24.7b was advanced to Eutaw’s account, where Apolo Senkeeto, the man who claimed to be Eutaw country representative, was a signatory.
On Thursday, another person, Michael Fiacco, introduced himself to the MPs as Eutaw country representative.
He explained that before he came to Uganda in March, 2014, Senkeeto was asked by the company to help with the ground work and logistics.
“He was the signatory to the bank account of Eutaw, where sh24b was deposited,” explained Fiacco.
When asked by the MPs who received the money, Fiacco responded: “The account where Senkeeto was a signatory”.
The Mukono-Katosi road being worked on
The US firm, based in Mississippi, has denied executing any contract in Uganda and disowned Senkeeto and other directors who negotiated the contract.
MPs also quizzed Eutaw’s project manager, Grant Hillacre Richard, who declared to the MPs that he had no work permit in Uganda and was still on probation.
Grant angered MPs when he introduced himself as the project manager for CICO, the Chinese company being subcontracted by Eutaw, which he later retracted, saying it was a slip of the tongue.
“Prove to us that you are a staff of Eutaw, how did you start work here without a work permit, yet it is a pre-requisite for all foreigners working in Uganda?” asked Iddi Isabirye (Bunya County).
In response, Grant explained: “I am sorry, I work for Eutaw, that was a slip of the tongue. Apparently, I am on a three-month probation. I do not have an ID, but hope to get one and a work permit after I have been approved. The only thing I have is my passport and Visa to Uganda.”
However, Fiacco, explained that he had hired Grant as the project manager, through his son, who happens to be friends with him (Fiacco).
UNRA’s acting executive director Eng. Ssebbugga Kimeze confirmed that UNRA had been notified that Eutaw was sub-contracting another firm.
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MPs tour Mukono-Katosi road, quiz contractors