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Thursday,October 29,2020 17:53 PM

Bicycle purchase needs thorough probe

By Vision Reporter

Added 4th October 2011 03:37 AM

The Inspectorate of Government and the Police criminal investigations department should immediately institute investigations into the way the procurement of the 70,000 bicycles meant for local councils was handled.

The Inspectorate of Government and the Police criminal investigations department should immediately institute investigations into the way the procurement of the 70,000 bicycles meant for local councils was handled.

The Inspectorate of Government and the Police criminal investigations department should immediately institute investigations into the way the procurement of the 70,000 bicycles meant for local councils was handled.

The accusation and counter-accusation between the Central Bank and the procuring entity, the Ministry of Local Government, provide a fertile ground to launch an investigation into the $4.2b deal that has turned into a national scandal. Although the procuring entity had blamed Bank of Uganda for not doing due diligence before releasing $1.7m, or 40% of the contract sum to the supplier, the Central Bank in a rebuttal yesterday gave a graphic account of the whole transaction, some of which border on criminal negligence and collusion.

The Central Bank said the money it received from the Ministry of Local Government was a commission charged for opening letters of credit and not to verify the authenticity of the supplier as the ministry had claimed.

The bank further said it indeed drew the attention of the procuring entity to a number of discrepancies in the documents submitted, but that the accounting officer still went ahead to authorise the payment.

While this procurement is already a subject of a parliamentary probe, the oversight agencies, the IGG or the CID, should lodge own investigations with a view to prosecuting the culprits since Parliament can only make recommendations.

Ugandan taxpayers have lost colossal sums of money in bogus procurement deals by public officers. Recent studies by the World Bank estimate that the country loses over sh500b annually due to corruption.

At $1m per kilometer, this money is enough to construct 175 kilometres of first-class tarmac road – the distance from Kampala to Kyotera. This haemorrhage of public funds must be stopped through stern and prompt action.

 

Bicycle purchase needs thorough probe

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