By Moses Mulondo & Henry Ssekanjako
KAMPALA - Parliament has voted overwhelmingly to terminate the Umeme Limited’s and Eskom power contracts.
The recommendation to terminate the contracts was contained in the ad-hoc committee report on energy set up by Parliament to assess performance of the electricity sub-sector in the country.
The committee recommended termination of the Umeme contract over “lopsided agreements, exaggerated level of losses and investment among other reasons.
Cabinet will have the final decision on the issue.
The contract was signed on May 17, 2004 after former Uganda Electricity Board (UEB) was unbundled into three different entities overseeing generation, transmission and distribution of power. The Umeme contract is set to end in 2024.
“Due to the gross illegalities and manipulations encountered surrounding the procurement of the Umeme concession/contract and the scandalous provisions of these power distribution agreements signed between government and Umeme Limited, this contract should be terminated,” stated the committee’s recommendation which Parliament endorsed yesterday.
The committee chaired by Jacob Oboth (Independent) also contended that the Attorney General did not perform the constitutional duty required of him of drawing and perusing all the agreements signed between Government and Umeme limited regarding the concession.
“This constitutional obligation was hijacked and therefore abused by the privatisation unit who hired transaction advisors who did not transact in the best interest of government and the people of Uganda,” the over 160-page report states.
The investigations followed outcry from members of the public regarding persistent load shedding, high electricity tariffs and faulty billing systems amidst other challenges.