Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Members of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament have reprimanded the director of Lira Regional Referral Hospital Dr Stephen Obbo for the delayed completion of a 2.7 billion Shillings staff housing project.
Dr Obbo appeared before the committee on Monday to respond to queries in the auditor general’s report for the financial year 2018/2019. During the meeting, he was asked to explain why the project was behind schedule by the time the Auditor General carried out a documentation review and physical inspection on November 25, 2019.
The 16 unit staff housing project was handed to M/S Block Technical Services on June 14, 2018. However, the works commenced on Ju;y 17, 2018 and was expected to be completed by January 17 2020.
Dr Obbo explained that the contractor faced some challenges in the form of shortage of materials like iron bars and asked for an extension. But this answer only served to raise scepticism among the MPs who queried how long it would take for materials to be shipped from Kampala.
Committee chairperson Nathan Nandala Mafabi expressed doubt over the explanation offered by the procurement officer Ivan Odeke regarding the shortage of materials. He also questioned the credentials of the contractor.
Dr Obbo told the committee that the contractor is still applying finishing touches to the buildings. He stated that the COVID-19 lockdown also affected work on the site leading to an extension to August 2020. He was being cross-examined by the Bukoto East MP Florence Namayanja.
When quizzed on how much has been paid so far, the Procurement officer Ivan Odeke noted that the contractor has to date received 1.7 billion Shillings and that the balance would be paid after the defects liability period of six months.
Nandala Mafabi asked the accounting officer to furnish the committee with the bid documents for the project, the bid evaluation report, a copy of the project contract, completion certificates, evidence of payment made to the contractor to date and all correspondences between the hospital and the contractor.