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Inside the SGS contract saga

One of the vehicle inspection sites in Uganda

Vehicle owners were given up to June 2017 to have successfully gone through the inspection exercise and obtained certificates of inspection to avoid being inconvenienced by traffic police on the road.

But the deadline was extended until further notice as Parliament went about investigations into circumstances that surrounded the awarding of the contract to SGS Uganda Ltd.

SGS boss speaks out

Christophe Dubois, the country manager for SGS told The Independent on Feb.23 that they are waiting for an important communication.

“We are yet to receive official communication from the Government of Uganda regarding the result of the parliamentary review that has taken place since June 2017. In the meantime, SGS remains committed to contribute to the national road safety program by offering a state of the art service with a view to improving road safety in Uganda,” he said.

Without specifics Dubois, however, said Parliament’s proceedings on the matter had affected the exercise with the inspection numbers significantly dropping to a handful of cars per day.

He said that by February 2018, they had inspected approx. 35, 000 vehicles – out of those, 78% had passed the test and 28% failed. It is estimated that Uganda has over 1 million motor vehicles on the road.

But as the SGS waits for government’s official communication on the matter, opponents of the exercise have welcomed the two reports from Parliament.

Andrew Karamagi, a lawyer who in the past attempted to block the exercise in courts of law told The Independent that he ‘disagrees with the majority report’s proposition to halt the exercise for three months because nothing can be done to salvage that contract.’

“It was and still is so badly steeped in outright illegality, collusion and fraud that the only remedy is to terminate the same,” he said, adding that the government need to stop the trend of the so-called investors coming into the country and threatening with compensation claims in case the government pulls out of contracts.

“It can’t be business as usual…terminating that contract will sound a warning shot which will be loud and clear,” he added.

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