By Moses Mulondo
The managing director of Omega Construct Limited has dismissed allegations that his company was blacklisted for doing shoddy work.
MPs on the Presidential Affairs Committee recently faulted KCCA for giving contracts tot Omega Construction Ltd, arguing that the company was blacklisted over shoddy works during preparations for the Commonwealth Head of Government Meeting in Kampala (November 2007).
“This company has long been blacklisted by Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets (PPDA) for abandoning projects which has resulted into financial loss to government. Do you mean to say that you’re working independent of government?” asked Igara County East MP Michael Mawanda Maranga
But in a statement sent to The New Vision, Pius Mugalaasi Mugerwa, the managing director for the company, explained that whereas the ministry of works and transport had in June 2013 recommended that they be blacklisted, they were vindicated by the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority. Mugalaasi cited a letter from the PDDA clearing the company.
“In consideration of the grounds raised in the recommendation and in light of the facts established in the course of the investigations of the above matter, the Authority found no merit in the recommendation and therefore your company has not been suspended,” said the PPDA executive director Cornelia Sabiti, in a letter dated October 28, 2013.
According to section 94 of the PPDA Act, it is only the PPDA that is mandated to blacklist a company after carrying out investigations.
Earlier the state minister for works Eng. John Byabagambi had also explained to parliament that the constitution gave PPDA the mandate to blacklist companies.
During a meeting with the MPs, the KCCA Head of Procurement, Doreen Akatuhwera, had also alleged that the Authority had cancelled its Kiteezi contract with Omega over issues relating to performance.
But Mugerwa clarified that it was Omega that terminated the Kiteezi contract and not KCCA. “It is true that Omega terminated the contract for Kiteezi land fill which was at 95% completion due to non-payment by KCCA. Only one payment out of five was made during the performance of the contract,” Mugerwa explained. He said KCCA attempted to terminate the Kitezi contract illegally.
He said the company took the matter to Uganda Institution of Professional Engineers for arbitration as contained in the agreement and it was found that KCCA was in breach of the contract and an award was given in favour of Omega.
He said whereas parliament has more than once faulted Omega, they have never invited the company managers to appear and defend themselves against the allegations.
On the allegation that Omega’s Soroti road project was cancelled due to incompetence, Mugerwa said, “Omega Construction carried out construction of 1km of road in Soroti in 2009. Only sh138m was paid for this work and in bits. It was agreed, in mediation with the ministry of works and transport officials, that the project be closed owing to the long delays in payment. The amounts outstanding to the contractor have never been paid to date.”