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Butabika Hospital probed for mismanaging Alcohol and Drug Unit project

FILE PHOTO: One of the dormitories at the Alcohol and Drug Unit at Butabika Hospital.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Butabika National Mental Referral Hospital has been accused of mismanaging the Alcohol and Drug Unit (ADU) expansion Project. The Unit is envisaged to handle the increasing number of patients in need of rehabilitation services.

But, according to a report of the Auditor General, there were a number of anomalies recorded with an allocation of 1.75 billion Shillings provided to expand the Unit.

The report shows that the authorities failed to follow the right procurement procedures while procuring the project supervision team as stipulated in the 2014 Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets (PPDA) regulations.

Besides the irregular appointment of the supervision team, the Auditor General also queried the failure by the hospital to observe acceptable engineering practice and PPDA regulations in regard to payments for works done and certified.

The Auditor-General also observes that there was no document for payment of over 151.4 million Shillings for a number of variations made for extra manholes, boundary walls, tank installation, external ceiling, kitchen counter, solar installation, terrazzo finish, security grille and others. He says that failure to adhere to the recommended procedure may impede cost control and management during the execution of the project, leading to cost overturns.

“A review of contract management files revealed that 100 per cent of the retention amount of 100.3 million was released to the contractor against a bank guarantee before issuance of a completion certificate. In absence of the certificate of completion of the works, there was no basis for payment of the retention to the contractor,” the Auditor General observed.

But Butabika Hospital management explains that the supervision team was employed on an earlier project of Support to the Health Sector Strategic Plan Project (SHSSPP II). Dr David Basangwa, the hospital Executive Director says that upon completion of the project, they were tasked to complete supervision of works under staff houses’ construction in the hospital and later have their contracts renewed for the new project.

He added that some variations specifically those affecting completion of the main contract were very urgent, but were still approved by the contracts committee and later by the Solicitor General. However, he adds, that the funds are still available for the hospital to claim in case of failure to correct defects and for any recoveries like damages.

The hospital management is expected to appear before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament to give verbal explanations about the queries.

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