January 6, 2015

Museveni To Interface With SGR Probe Committee

President Yoweri Museveni is scheduled to interface with the select committee investigating into the contract of the Standard Gauge Railyway on Thursday this week. 

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni

Robert Kafeero Ssekitoleko, the select committee chairperson says he wrote to Museveni on December 29th asking him to meet the committee over his role in the procurement of China Harbor Corporation-CHEC to handle the Standard Gauge Railway construction project.

Ssekitoleko says the committee decided to meet the president after several witnesses mentioned his involvement in the procurement process.

Article 90 (3) (a), of the constitution of the republic of Uganda mandates parliament to interface with the President and seek clarification on any matter.

According to Ssekitoleko, Museveni has confirmed his readiness to meet the committee on January 8th 2015 at state house Entebbe.

Ssekitoleko says the committee wants to establish whether Abraham Byandala, the Transport and works minister consulted the President before delegating duties to his Junior Minister John Byabagambi.

He also says they want the president to explain whether he was comfortable with the decision of Byabagambi to disregard a legal opinion of the Attorney General over the matter and yet he is the Principal Advisor to Government.

While appearing before the committee several witnesses claimed that Byabagambi said he couldn’t listen to the advice from the Attorney General and discard that of the President.

Peter Nyombi had cautioned the works ministry against terminating the Memorandum of Understanding between Uganda and China Civil Engineering Corporation-CCECC in favor of China Harbor Corporation-(CHEC) to construct the Standard Gauge Railway line at the cost of UGX 4 trillion.

Investigations into the SGR procurement exercise came after MPs Abdu Katuntu, Barnabas Tinkasiimire, Theodore Ssekikubo and Wilfred Niwagaba petitioned parliament accusing the president of direct involvement in the project.

While testifying before the committee, the MPs tabled three letters from Museveni with orders that the deal be offered to CHEC.  In his August 22nd letter, Museveni also directed a feasibility study conducted by the government be given out to CHEC at no cost.

He also noted that government was supposed to demonstrate leadership in the project and that he did not want any further delays. He directed the officials to engage CHEC to undertake the development of Kampala-Malaba-Tororo –Gulu-Nimule with a branch from Gulu to go via Pakwach.

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