Two months after the Ministry of Health terminated an American company from completing a US$3.5m World Bank HIV/AIDS awareness project contract, the ministry is still embroiled over the payment of about US$300,000 to the American communications company,
Ashford International (AI) has now asked the World Bank to arbitrate in the row. It says MOH acted in violation of the World Bank procedures.
The Minister of Health Brig. Jim Muhwezi said the ministry had referred the issue of Ashford International to the Solicitor General and Attorney General.
â€œWe are determined to fulfil our side of the contract, but we want certain legal issues sorted out,â€ Muhwezi said.
The Inspector General of Government (IGG, Jotham Tumwesigye, has also shown interest in the stalled project. â€œI was verbally briefed about the project. But I cannot get started because I am yet to get the necessary documents from the health ministry,â€ he said.
Sources said MOH is yet to get a go-ahead from the World Bank to find another contractor to complete the remaining 15% of the project.
Recently, minister Muhwezi admitted that AI had completed over 80% of the project.
On November 8, 2002, the ministry terminated AIâ€™s project to build a country-wide communication network to easy the campaign against HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases on grounds that AI was too slow in implementing the project.
Despite the termination, it seems AI still wants to complete the contract, sources in the ministry said.
Health, Ashford Row Over Project Funds