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Chinese company ordered to refund sh1.8b bogus UNRA payment

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Chongqing officials at parliament on Thursday.

A Chinese contractor Chongqing International was on Thursday ordered by  Uganda’s Parliament to refund sh1.8bn that was paid out under a bogus claim.

The chairperson of parliament’s Committee on Commissions, State Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) Katuntu ordered that the contractor refund the money by close of business November 29th and it be banked on the account of Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA).

UNRA officials led by former Executive Director Eng. Kimezze Ssebugga were on Thursday grilled by parliament committee COSASE for making payment for a bogus claim for a penalty of sh1.8bn. This, allegedly, for a  purported delay by NEMA to provide an Envirnonment Impact Assessment report for a stone quarry to supply materials for the upgrading of the Vurra-Arua-Koboko road according to the 2013-14 Auditor General’s report.

COSASE is currently looking into a selected sample of road contracts executed by UNRA.

After a stormy session with MPs led by committee chair Abdu Katuntu and his deputy Anita Among, both the contractor and the consultant accepted blame for the seeking the  illegal payment hence MPs suggesting that the money be recovered.

UNRA paid the Chinese contractor Chongqing sh1.8bn in cost claims and sought for a refund from NEMA as a result of the alleged delay.

However MPs on COSASE  noted that the claims were illegal since the law gives NEMA  six months within which to provide approval, which it did in four months.

The contractor was faulted for proceeding to apply for cost claims one month after applying for approval from UNRA.  Also at fault is the project consultant Comptran engineering and planning associates who provided UNRA with wrong advice.

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editor@independent.co.ug

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