Councillors Move for Suspension of Mbarara contracts committee, Cite Irregularities in Tender awards


Mbarara City Deputy Town Clerk Richard Mugisha makes remarks during the council meeting on Tuesday

Mbarara | RedPepper Digital – Mbarara City Councilors have expressed dissatisfaction with the Contracts Committee members and moved for its suspension and investigations made on them on allegations of connivance and irregularities in contracts awarding.

According to the Councilors led by their speaker, Bony Tashobya Karutsya raised their concerns accusing the Mbarara City Contracts Committee that the members of this committee are the major cause of the loss of revenue collection in Mbarara City.

It has been learnt that Mbarara City is slacking in revenue collection due to the fact that there is a lot of corruption, connivance, lack of revenue audit guidance and lack of a proper mechanism.

During the Council meeting held on Tuesday this week at Mbarara City Council, it was revealed and discovered that Tenderers are not paying the money which they are supposed to pay to the Council, that most of these Tenderers have defaulted and no one has come against them.

In this case, the council is up in arms with the contracts committee that the committee has failed to do it’s role, therefore, it should be dropped or be suspended.

In a report, Eunice Asiimwe, Councilor representing PWDs and the Chairperson Working Committee in Mbarara City Council, revealed Mbarara City was losing a lot of revenues as a result of poor management of revenue collection.

“The auditors do not conduct routine audits to safeguard loss of revenue, that no audit Management as far as revenue sources are concerned. That this is a danger to service delivery and realization of their budgets,” a worried Asiimwe revealed.

The committee, therefore, recommended that contractors must be procured in time to avoid losses and further resolved that market resources should be managed at the collection level, that bringing them to the centre for tendering and reviews end up being affected by bureaucracy and other challenges like corruption.

It was noted that some tenderers who default are the ones who win tenders year in year out. They also recommended that existing contracts in Mbarara City be reviewed to make more stringent and biting to the contractors who don’t fulfil their promise, no contractor should be allowed to conduct without signing the agreement.

Mbarara City Councilors during the Council meeting

The committee has further recommended that there should conduct a special audit and ascertain how much money has been lost due to failure to collect from the Kikona market and whoever found in this fault be held personal reliable and individually pay the loss of revenue from this market.

That tender should also pay. The issue of Kikona market shocked the council when it was discovered that since 2020 at the beginning of lockdown the tenderer Kikona market in Ruti has ever been paying the council only 3m instead of 16.5m per week. It is alleged that the tenderer connived with the contracts committee, some few technocrats at Mbarara City Council and politicians to reduce the money from 16.5m to only 3m.

This contract was awarded to Tukahamu Enterprises but it is also alleged that this tender is indirectly owned by the Mbarara City South Mayor Jomo Mugabe though he trashed the allegations. It is said that there is no official letter indicating an agreement on how this money has reduced money. The reduction of 16.5m to 3m has caused a total financial loss of 1.2b from the Kikona market to Mbarara City Council.

Commercial officer James Agaba told our reporter that as the contracts Committee Chairperson he has never seen a letter showing that Kikona market revenue was reduced from 16.5m to 3m.

“Am the one who awarded the contract at 16.5m so I don’t know about who authorized the contractor to pay only 3m?” said Agaba.

Councillors demanded a clear explanation of why contractors in Mbarara City are not paying.

They accuse the five members of the contracts committee that they connive with the tenderers to eat Revenue collections.

The said Contracts committee is led by Mbarara City Commercial Officer James Agaba as Chairperson, Edgar Rwabutagu as the Secretary who also works as Mbarara City Procurement Officer. And it is also alleged that the Mbarara City Deputy Town Clerk Richard Mugisha is on the Same Committee and Francis Tumeebaze the Mbarara City Education Officer.

During the Council meeting Monday, Deputy Town Clerk Mugisha Sweat plasma as councillors tasked him to explain why Mbarara City is continuing to lose more revenue collections. That he should explain why contractors are not paying yet he is an administrator of this institution. Mugisha had no answers only to promise that administrators are going to meet them and discover where the problem is. This did not amuse the councillors and the speaker Tashobya who told him off to stop playing games in Council.

He said that as Town Clerk he should be in a position to know why tenderers are not paying the council. One Enoch male Councilor representing PWDs said that the council should move a motion to suspend the Contracts committee and members are investigated. He said that he is going to consult Lawyers and where it’s possible the committee of contract committee will be sued because as councillors who represent their people they cannot only sit and watch when taxpayers money is being misused by a few individuals.

“We feel challenged and disappointed by our Deputy Town Clerk to come here and start telling us how he doesn’t know whether the contractors are paying or not paying. And already we have discovered that tenderers are not paying or even they pay but the money might be misused by some individuals whom he does not want to disclose,” said Jenina Kyomuhendo Councilor representing female Youth Mbarara City Council.

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