Kitgum, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) Limited, a company currently undertaking a multi-billion piped water project in Kitgum district is losing over 114 million shillings due to theft and vandalism.
Hu Min, the project coordinator of the Orom Water Supply and Sanitation System says during a recent routine inspection, they realized damage and theft of their equipment.
According to Hu Min, the equipment worth over 32,000 US dollars that was stolen includes 23 gate valves, 18 adapter flanges, 6 T-flanges and 8 taper flanges while 9 manhole inspection covers have since been vandalized by unknown people.
Hu says that the most affected installations are in the areas of Agoromin and Bale village in Lolwa parish, Orom sub county, Kakoo village in Pagwok parish, Namokora sub county in Kitgum district and Longor village in Omiya Pachua sub county, Agago district.
He adds that despite having reported the matter, the police have been reluctant to investigate the matter which is affecting the completion of the project.
The Kitgum Resident District Commissioner William Komakech says that his office has embarked on investigations about the theft. Komakech says that he has tasked all local council chairpersons in the affected areas to explain how the installations were tampered with or stolen since they are mandated to monitor government programs.
As part of interventions to ensure the safety of the installations, the district security committee has recommended the deployment of the security personnel in all project sites and areas prone to theft and vandalism.
But the Lowa parish councillor Christopher Obwona refuted the theft claims and instead accused the contractor of mistreating their workers by deducting their emoluments, forcing the workers to take the company equipment in protest.
This is the second time that the contractor has reported a case of theft of their equipment following a similar incident in 2019 where over 300 meter rolls of plastic water pipes were stolen in Lakwanya village, Orom sub county and several litres of fuel siphoned from their trucks.
The Orom Water Supply and Sanitation System is a two-year project worth over 30 billion shillings being funded by the African Development Bank and implemented by the Ministry of Water and Environment in Kitgum district.
The project consists of the installations of six mini-solar power systems with modern pumps and the installation of 11 pressed steel tanks of 50, 100 and 150 cubic meters capacity reservoirs.
It commenced in July 2019 and is expected to be completed before the end of this year and will supply water from Orom sub county, to the sub-counties of Namukora, Omiya Anyima and Mucwini in Kitgum district and Omiya Pachua sub county in Agago district.