Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Minister for Energy and Mineral Resources Irene Muloni has refuted allegations that sh24 billion meant for the construction of a bridge at Isimba Dam was swindled.
Last week, the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga told MPs that the funds were embezzled by Ministry of Energy officials. She also said that despite forwarding the names of the officials to President Yoweri Museveni in March, no action was taken.
China International Water and Electric Corporation (CWE) was expected to construct a bridge across River Nile that would link Kayunga and Kamuli districts. The bridge was meant to run from Kayunga to Kuva Island and another from Kuva Island to the Kamuli side.
Addressing journalists on Tuesday at the Media Centre, Muloni said that the Ministry is not aware of the funds.
Muloni says the bridge could not be constructed because the contractor deviated from what had been agreed in the contract.
She says the bridge designed by the contractor on top of the dam was found unsuitable for public use because the contractor had provided only one lane instead of two lanes as specified in the contract.
Muloni adds that the government directed the contractor to construct a separate bridge with two lanes as specified in the contract.
Muloni says following the instruction to the contractor to construct another bridge, the contractor undertook feasibility studies for the separate public bridge across the river downstream of the power dam, which was completed in November 2018.
She says the contractor submitted a detailed design of the new bridge to Uganda National Roads Authority- UNRA, which later approved the designs in July 2019 and construction works are on-going.
According to Muloni, as of October, 20% of the construction works at the bridge had been completed while the 80% is expected to be completed by 31 December 2020.
Lawrence Pario, an Engineer with UNRA says the 20% completion rate includes construction of roads and 11 pilling works out of 78 pills meant to constitute the foundation of the bridge.
According to the Minister, government has not incurred any extra financial cost due to the changes.