By Goodluck Musinguzi
LACK of transparency in awarding contracts is causing the Government to lose a lot of revenue.
Speaking during the national prayers on Sunday in Kabale district, Cox Nyakairu, the resident district commissioner (RDC), said the fight against corruption in the districts may not be won if the contracts issue is not tackled.
Prior to the event, Nyakairu, had written to the minister of the presidency complaining about the awarding and signing of contracts in Kampala without informing the beneficiary districts.
As a result, he said, billions of shillings had been lost in various projects.
He said there was need for collective measures by government agencies to ensure resources were not misused.
Nyakairu said it was a big challenge for the district leaders because the people think they condone shoddy work.
He said some contractors undermine the district leaders because they know they are protected by the central government.
He cited an example of Herbert Lubega, the managing director of MML Road Construction Company, who insulted the chief administrative officer on phone and when the RDC tried to intervene, he switched off his phone.
He also pointed out a case where a construction firm got sh350m to construct Johnson Road in Kabale but abandoned the work before completion. He also cited another company which got sh600m to build a bridge at Nyamuriro Mines but the bridge collapsed before it was even handed over to the Government.
Sam Byibesho, the mayor of Kisoro Town Council, said one of these companies failed to complete the road it started in Kisoro yet it had been paid in Kampala. He blamed the central government for the confusion and advised that contracts be signed at the district level to avoid such incidents which result in shoddy work and loss of funds.
But Lubega accused the district leaders of a deliberate move to fail his work on an alternative road to Nyamuriro Wolfram Mines in Muko sub-county.
His accusations come at a time when the district leaders are accusing his company of doing shoddy work and threatening to impound his equipment.
Lubega alleged that Nyakairu and Swaibu Balaba, the deputy chief administrative officer, called him asking him â€˜to cooperateâ€™.
He said when he insisted he was under the supervision of the works ministry, Nyakairu and Balaba got annoyed and started criticising him.
Speaking on phone, Lubega said there is no red gravel in Kabale and he only uses what is available.
â€œIf the works minister cannot stop me, who are they to stop me? My contract is clear,â€ he said.
Lubega claimed there was a lot of politics, tribalism and corruption in the region. â€œMany contractors do not want to work here because of this,â€ he said.
He noted that he had a clean
record because he had worked on roads in Mbale, Ssemuto, Kapeeka and Kaguta Road without complaints from anyone.
Lubega said he had even done more work than what was required of him. â€œI was contracted to work on 10km but I have done 14km.â€
He said the district leaders wanted him to construct a bridge which was not part of his contract. This bridge was worked on by a different contractor but it collapsed before it was handed over to the Government
But Nyakairu emphasised that Lubegaâ€™s claims were baseless and would not deter them from monitoring government projects. â€œIt is our brief as leaders to fight corruption and ensure value for money,â€ he said.
An official from the works ministry who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Government did not condone and would not pay for sub-standard work.
He said the ministryâ€™s consultant will be in the district soon over this contract.
The official said there was no way the contractor could complete the work which was deemed to take six months in just two months.
This alternate road to Nyamuriro is of great interest because Wolfram Mining is the lifeline for the locals here.