A whistleblower has petitioned the Inspectorate of Government to investigate circumstances under which the ministry of Transport and Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) awarded a deal to procure 980 buses from Ashok Leyland, to a single bidder without competitive bidding.
The whistleblower’s dossier, dated February 10, 2020, accuses the ministry of Transport and KCCA of not allowing public participation through open bidding to allow local investors to participate.
This action, says the whistleblower, contravenes all procurement laws and could attract a legal challenge that could cost taxpayers billions.
“All the routes in Kampala Metropolitan Area have been given to this company to run without allowing other interested parties to participate. First of all The Ministry of Transport and /or K.C.C.A did not allow public participation through open bidding to allow our local investors to participate. It looks like this Ashok Leyland was handpicked to supply these buses in total disrespect of public procurement rules. Its subsidiary was also granted all routes to ply to the exclusion of all other players,” notes the whistleblower.
The dossier notes that local bus manufacturers have been denied an opportunity to participate in this project which would have enabled local bus industries to build capacity, expand their industries and provide over 5,000 jobs to Ugandans in the manufacturing industry.
“This Ashok Leyland is getting a lot of support from the government of Uganda of course using public funds by guaranteeing the payment for these buses, giving them designated routes. With the previous trends, this is a dubious transaction that will end in a loss for Ugandans. One wonders why the president has been promoting “BUBU” Buy Uganda, Build Uganda. Why are we not supporting our local investors? Are we our own enemies? Why can’t the Ministry of Finance provide similar incentives to local manufacturers and allow them to make and supply the same buses probably at a lesser cost? Isn’t this a conspiracy of government officials in KCCA, Ministry of Works and Transport and Ministry of Finance to rip off the government and people of Uganda?”
The whistleblower wants the IGG to investigate any acts of corruption and abuse of office intended to enrich individual at the cost of the nation; to bring the culprits to book; to ensure that the project is undertaken in a transparent manner in accordance with the laws and practice of public procurement.
Last month, Peter Kaujju the director communication at KCCA said they expect to have 200 buses under the African Development Bank as a solution to improve public transport by next year.
He said currently, they are experiencing an influx of people coming to settle in the City.
“We are working on all the city roads to reduce on traffic flow. We have trained scouts to help drivers to use the roads correctly because some drivers are not aware of the new changes,”Kaujju said.
The promoters of the buses say they will not only create a clean air supply but also curtail traffic congestion in the city.
The buses will allow transportation around 25 Km radius from the city centre including Kampala-Mukono through Jinja road, Kampala-Nsanji on Masaka Road, Kampala Buloba on Mityana Road, Kampala Wakiso on Hoima Road, Kampala-Matugga on Bombo Road, Kampala- Entebbe and Kampala-Ggaba Road.