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EU offers sh5 billion to audit Karuma, Isimba Dam

Isimba launched early this month

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | An engineering audit into the Isimba and Karuma power dam projects starts next month.

The construction and completion of the 6.7 trillion shillings Isimba and Karuma hydro-power dams is expected to lower the cost of electricity in Uganda and also boost industrialization.

The Assistant Auditor General responsible for audits, Keto Nyapendi Kayemba says the specialized audit on the two dam projects has been pending since 2017 due to lack of funds.

According to Kayemba, auditing the two multi-billion power dam projects will require sh5 billion shillings, which the European Union-EU has committed to provide.

Last year, EU released half of the funds for the audit that will be conducted in two phases. The first phase will take four months from April to July at a cost of 2.4 billion shillings.

The support from the EU is part of the funds it is providing to the sectors for accountability and Justice, Law and Order. The support will be for 3 years.

Kayemba says that the office of Auditor General is in the process of signing the contract with Pöyry Switzerland Ltd, an international consultancy firm to commence work.

The decision to select an international firm was based mainly on the required skill set for the consultant with civil, structural and geotechnical engineering skills.

Also, specific requirements include among others having experience of 15 to 20 years experience in geotechnical engineering, hydraulics, and design engineering.

Kayemba says that it was easier to contract one firm to do the audit rather than several engineers who are not many in Uganda.

The selected firm has 600 generalists and specialists in strategic consultation and services for energy and project handling.

The firm will be expected to review the processes of planning, design, and construction of the 600MW Karuma dam projects, the Karuma interconnection project, and the Isimba dam project.

The consultant will also look into contract documents, consider compliance with international standards, the quality of the infrastructure in place among other issues during the engineering audit.

Construction of both projects commenced in 2013 and were expected to be completed by end of 2018. Isimba dam was completed last week while Karuma dam is expected to be completed by end of this year. It was reported in previous years that shoddy works had caused delays at both projects.

The Auditor General also noted in his December 2017 Report that the lack of supervision of the Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractor had resulted into shoddy works at both project sites.  Both projects, for instance, had anomalies that included cracking, poor concrete quality on site which indicated that the incapacity of the site engineers to resolve the issues.

Although the 183 MW Isimba dam project was commissioned last week, Kayemba says that the issues identified in the audit will have to be rectified in the defects liability period that commences after a project has been commissioned.

Kayemba adds that though the projects have progressed since 2013, it is never too late to conduct an audit that will also have a component of value for money.

Pöyry boosts on its website as one of the world’s leading hydropower engineering companies that has designed hydropower schemes all over the world for more than one hundred years.

This includes designing and supervising hydropower schemes which include an installed capacity of over 100,000 MW in the last two decades.

The firm has in the past been contracted to expand electric works by designing an underground substation to provide stable power supply for 400,000 inhabitants for the next 100 years in Zurich, Switzerland.

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