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CCCC officials appearing before COSASE on Tuesday

Chinese Firm Pinned over Entebbe Airport Expansion Contract

by Max Pat
posted onFebruary 8, 2022
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The former employee of China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) has pinned the Chinese firm over the Entebbe International Airport expansion contract.

In 2014, Government contracted CCCC to expand and upgrade Entebbe International Airport to match up the growing passenger and cargo traffic at $200m.

While appearing before the Committee on Tuesday, along with CCCC officials, Mr. Levi Musinguzi, the former Assistant Business Development Manager of CCCC, who appeared as a witness told the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) that procurement regulations in the award of the US$200m contract for the expansion and upgrading of Entebbe International Airport were flouted.

He said that there was no tender or bidding procedures followed in the contract award and that CCCC got the 'contract' through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Ministry of Works. This is in contravention with the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets (PPDA) Act that calls for competitive bidding.

“This so called procurement did not go through the entire procurement chain. In procurement, there are two important items that is tender document and bidder document. But in this particular matter, there was no tender document generated by CAA and Ministry of Works inviting bidders. There was only CCCC,” Musinguzi said.

CCCC Country manager, Mr. Joseph Zhang indeed confirmed that there was no open bidding in the award of the contract, but was quick to say that a proper binding MOU was signed with Ministry of Works. He however, shocked the Committee when he said that whereas Mr. Musinguzi is their former staff, he was only in charge of doing general duties such as photocopying documents.

Mr. Musinguzi insists he has signed important documents as a proxy from CCCC during his service from 2011 to 2014. He promised to furnish the committee with all the documents that he has signed on behalf of the firm to allay fears that he was simply in charge of photocopying documents.

Hon. Roland Ndyomugyenyi (Indep. Rukiga County) called for a forensic investigation on the Entebbe airport contract award saying the Chinese firm fraudulently acquired the contract. He added that it was equally illegal for CCCC to seek for additional funds amounting to about US$3.4m for a ‘design and build’ contract.

“This is fraud. You submitted a design and build proposal which is governed by PPDA Act. So anyone who pays you a single coin in addition to what you asked for will go to jail including you [CCCC officials],” Ndyomugyenyi said.

COSASE Chairperson Joel Ssenyonyi observed that it was erroneous for CCCC to sign an MOU with Ministry of Works even before submitting the feasibility study. He wants officials from Ministry of Works and CAA to also be held liable for all the irregularities in the contract award.

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