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Youth demand investigations into SGS performance

By Mary Karugaba

Added 24th July 2017 03:42 PM

SGS is a multinational company recently contracted by government to provide inspection, verification, testing and certification services.

Youth demand investigations into SGS performance

SGS is a multinational company recently contracted by government to provide inspection, verification, testing and certification services.

PIC: From left, Minawah Farouk, who represented taxi drivers, Robert Mugambwa, a member of Uganda young Democrats and Andrew Karamagi, a lawyer and political activist addressing journalists in Kampala on Monday. (Credit: Ashraf Kasirye)

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KAMPALA - A group of youth have asked government to investigate the performance of Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS), a company procured to carry out the mandatory vehicle inspection.

The youth from different organizations are saying that since the beginning of the inspection process, a number of irregularities have risen that necessitates government's intervention.

Led by Andrew Karamagi, a lawyer, the youth said Monday that to-date, there is no substantive entity to supervise the works of SGR.

"The contracts management committee at the ministry of works and transport which should by now have ceded responsibility to a contracts supervision is still presiding over the execution of the contract. Why up to this day? Is there no supervising entity? Are they that very good that they don't need a supervisor?" questioned Karamagi.

Farouk Minawah, a taxi driver, demanded to know why government went ahead to award the company a contract yet it had earlier failed government.

They also want to know why the works and transport ministry had discharged the performance security of $2m yet the company had not yet commenced in major parts of the country. The inspection is currently only in Kampala.

SGS is a multinational company recently contracted by government to provide inspection, verification, testing and certification services.

The youth are also wondering whether government had done due diligence on the company given its bad history in Uganda.

"Government terminated the inspection services for this same company after it failed on its performance to verify imports. Unfortunately, the same company that failed to perform in 1998 is the same company they awarded the contract," said Minawah.

Last week a team from the works ministry led by state minister for works Henry Bagiire, were thrown out of the committee of physical infrastructure for failure to explain a number of issues relating to SGS.

Among the issues raised by members include increased inspection fees charged per vehicle, due diligence on the company, security performance guarantee and others.

"Government in 1998 terminated the inspection services for this same company after it failed government on imports. Unfortunately, when you tried to do due diligence, you went to Ivory Coast and Spain and never searched for its history here. May we know why this was done?" MP Othieno Okoth asked in that meeting.

When the minister tried to respond, he instead narrated how government had tried to construct good roads across the country.

"Now one can travel from one border to another on tarmac which was not there in the past. Government is also coming for rural roads that members are complaining about…." but before he could complete the statement, members objected saying his explanation was not relevant to the issues asked.

They also complained that he had appeared without the head of procurement and the ministry's permanent secretary who is the accounting officer.

When the legislators bombarded the team with more questions and demanded answers, Bagiire asked the secretary of Transport Licensing Board Winstone Katushabe to answer.

In an attempt to respond, Katushabe kept asking for more time to almost all the questions, a matter that angered the MPs.

 

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