NAMANVE INDUSTRIAL PARK SCANDAL: HOW UGANDA INVESTMENT AUTHORITY DIRECTOR GENERAL ROBERT MUKIZA & OTHER OFFICIALS SHARED OVER UGX500 MILLION HONORARIA

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UGANDA INVESTMENT AUTHORITY DIRECTOR GENERAL ROBERT MUKIZA & OTHER OFFICIALS SHARED UGX500 MILLION HONORARIA

The State Minister of Finance in charge of Investments and Privatization, Hon Evelyn Anite, has directed the Uganda Investment Authority-UIA officials including Director General,Robert Mukiza to refund over Ugx500 million received as ‘honoraria’ from funds earmarked for construction of transport infrastructure in Namanve Industrial Park.

“The UIA Board of Directors should ensure that the following UIA staff and project management team members in the tables below who received the illegal honoraria on 23rd July 2023 from the project funds (loan), refund all the money within 24 hours from the receipt of this letter into the project’s account,” said Anite in a letter to UIA Board chairman, Morrison Rwakakamba on June 12, 2024.

“Failure to do so within the stipulated time frame will attract dire consequences,” she added.

The Government of Uganda on 4th December 2019 secured Euro 219,482,727 from UK Export Finance ( U K E F ) for financing the development of infrastructure (design and build) at Kampala Industrial and Business Park, Namanve.

According to UIA, from the commencement of the project, the Owner’s Engineer – the consortium of Roughton International Ltd., Turner and Townsend International Ltd., Joadah Consult Ltd., and Basic Group Ltd. failed to adequately supervise the project, therefore delaying in the clearance of studies and designs that were critical to commencement of the construction phase in May 2021.

The authority also cited a delay in providing instructions critical for project implementation and subsequently, due to these failures, it terminated their contract on 29th August 2022 and replaced them with its in-house team to supervise the project.

Drama started unfolding when the contractor Lagan Dott wrote to UIA Director Genera, Mukiza seeking guidance to enable payment of the Project Management Team (PMT) and tax implications for payments made to date.

HOW THE HONORARIA WAS SHARED https://x.com/RiseNewsUganda/status/1801708984954490910

The contractor further wrote to Finance Minister Matia Kasaija and Anite, among others, making reference to the payment already made to a selected section UIA staff and the project management team to a tune of Ugx545,497,331 (Ugx280,421,36 and Ugx265,075,963 respectively), out of the Namanve Industrial Park Project Loan.

On April 30, 2024, UIA wrote to LaganDott, Namanve Limited requesting for payment of additional honoraria amounting to Ugx316,696,422 to some selected members of UIA staff and the project management team again out of the project loan sum.

“I find the above despicable, uncouth, barbaric and uncultured that people who have been tasked with the responsibility of delivering such a project within 5 years not only have they underperformed but also they are busy chest thumping and dishing to themselves huge sums of the project loan,” said Anite.

“All these tantamount to mischarge, abuse and corruption at the expense of taxpayers of Uganda.”

Anite said this project has taken five years yet the expected project completion time frame was by 5th January, 2024.

“To date, it’s only at 50% progress,” she emphasized.

UIA SPEAKS OUT:    Contacted for comment, Mukiza said upon Termination of the Owner’s Engineer (OE) on 29th August 2022, additional responsibilities were assigned to the Project Management Team (PMT) assisted by some UIA staff to bridge the gap in the supervision of the infrastructure development, at KIBP.

“The project manager, Infrastructure development at Kampala Industrial and Business Park, Namanve Project in consultation with the Director General, Uganda Investment Authority made a proposal to the UIA Board of Directors who sat considered and approved that UIA Management considers remunerating the staff for their additional responsibilities, and guided to execute it within the law,” said Mukiza.

UIA argues that its project management team staff were assigned roles and responsibilities of the Owner’s Engineer to supervise the Project and the terms of reference were the staff’s deliverables which were beyond their employment duties and therefore extra ordinary.

UIA Management further said it considered section 3.28 of the Human Resource Manual, on the applicable allowance in line with the Employer’s Project Governance and management structure.

Section 3.28 of the approved HR manual (Annex 5) stipulates that Honoraria is an allowance payable when UIA wants a particular piece of work to be carried out by an employee within a specified period of time which exceptionally important to UIA; is outside the normal scope of the employees’ official duties and involves disproportionate amount of the employees official and private time.

UIA further said the Owner’s Engineer would have earned € 626,597.16 in the period between September 2022 to February 2023.

“The paid honoraria for the same period totals € 124,822.63 hence a saving of € 501,774.53,” said UIA management in a letter to the Board.

Honoraria was computed as: (Number of days worked/30) *60% of monthly basic salary in accordance with the UIA Human Resource Manual, according to management.

However, Anite said this is “not in line with the vision of H.E the President of Republic Uganda, General Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of industrializing Uganda for job creation, wealth creation and social economic transformation.”

She directed that the UIA Board of Directors should ensure that the Director General of UIA “rescinds his request for additional honoraria in his letter dated 10th June, 2024 within 24 hours and henceforth refrain from making such unscrupulous request on diverting project loan for personal gains but rather focus his energy and that of his team members to ensure that the project deliverables are completed for the benefit of our country.”

Anite emphasized: “In view of the fact that it is not clear to me how much misappropriation has affected the total loan sum, by copy of this letter I request the Inspector General of Government to swing into action with immediate effect and investigate this matter further.”

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