A Parliament Committee has ordered Fort Portal and Hoima Municipal accounting officers to pursue a private contractor, who abandoned various sites after being advanced funds.
In December 2014, Hoima Municipal Council awarded M/S Plinth Technical Works Limited a contract to construct seven roads under the Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development (USMID) in the municipality at a cost of Shs 10.4 billion.
The roads include: Rukurato Road, Main Street, Old Toro Road, Coronation Road, Persy Road, Government Road and Kabalega Road and was meant to be completed in a period of one year.
The private contractor was advanced up to Shs5.6 billion but failed to complete the works forcing Hoima Municipality to cancel and engage a new contractor.
The Committee on Public Accounts (Local Government) was in Western Uganda reviewing the Auditor General’s financial audit for the 2016/17 financial year covering the entities from Hoima and Fort Portal Audit Branches; and the USMID value for money audit for the two municipalities.
The Committee observed that the same contractor had also failed in Mbale, Tororo and Soroti.
The Committee chaired by Hon. Reagan Okumu directed both Fort Portal and Hoima Municipalities to pursue the contractor to refund the USMID advanced funds.
The Government of Uganda through the Ministry of Lands and Urban Development acquired a loan of US$150 million from the World Bank to support infrastructural development and capacity building in 14 municipal councils.
Okumu said that accounting officers who have consistently not delivered on their previous and current assignments or who have not offered the proper leadership and mismanaged public funds will have to take responsibility.
“On the value for money audit, we had a lot of challenges since the USMID has not performed well in Hoima and Fort Portal,” he said.
The Committee also established that Hoima had challenges in the procurement process which undermined the completion of projects as pointed out by the Auditor General.
The Chief Accounting Officer (CAO) for Hoima Municipality, David Kyasanku, confirmed that the contractor had been fully paid but abandoned the site which led to termination of the contract.