John Byabagambi, the state works minister has explained why government terminated its memorandum of understanding-MOU with China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation-CCECC.
In 2012, government signed an MOU with China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation-CCECC to upgrade the railway line.
However, government terminated the MOU and instead contracted China Harbour Engineering Company-(CHEC to construct a standard gauge railway at the tune of UGX 12 trillion.
As a result, a group of legislators petitioned parliament citing flaws in the procurement procedures.
The speaker of parliament, Rebecca Kadaga appointed a select committee chaired by Kafeero Ssekitoleko, the Nakifuma County to investigate the deal.
On Wednesday, John Byabagambi, the state works minister appeared before the committee.
He told the members that, government terminated the MOU with China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation because it provided for the upgrade of the existing line yet government wanted to construct a new Standard gauge railway.
Byabagambi explained that after the MOU was signed, President Museveni changed his mind saying the country needed an efficient and speedy standard gauge railway.
When asked why he ignored advice from Peter Nyombi, the Attorney general not to cancel the MOU, the minister said sign the Nyombi had not consulted his junior Fred Ruhindi and other legal officers in his chamber.
Nyombi has that cancelling the MOU was illegal since CCECC had gone a step in implementing aspects in the MOU. However, Fred Ruhindi, the Deputy Attorney general authorized the cancellation of the MOU contradicting Nyombi’s stand on the matter.
Byabagambi said that his misunderstanding with Nyombi was based on technical grounds.
Last week, while appearing before the committee Nyombi accused Byabagambi of confronting him verbally and vowing not to listen to his advice on the matter. He says that the minister took advantage of his trip to India to secure a legal opinion from Ruhindi.
Shortly after the cancellation of the MOU, CCECC dragged government to court but later withdrew the case and wait for other opportunities.