I’m immune of UNRA rot, says Byandala



Former Works and Transport minister, Abraham Byandala, has shaken off the dirt being smeared on him as far as Uganda National Roads Authority [UNRA] scandals are concerned.

“I am immune, I never participated in any bribery,” Byandala told the UNRA Commission of Inquiry probe committee on Tuesday.

Byandala said he never asked any of his ministers to sign any exemption letters and if they did, it was in their own action.

He remembers writing a letter to have a new independent consultant to evaluate value for money on the roads which he said was ignored.

Byandala claims even paying his personal money for people to carry out investigation on whether work was being done well.

“These people concentrated on cheap consultants and I kept on telling them,” he pointed, adding, “Whatever I do, is in the interest of the country, my people and myself last.”

Byandala is being blamed for the loss of over Shs130bn that was wasted on the Tororo-Mbale road in delays and disrespect of contract rules.

The minister without portfolio says he found that there was no performance contract between the UNRA ED and the board therefore there was no point for assessment.

He told the committee headed by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire, that the contractor complained that he didn’t the get the full design.

“Some of the issues I pointed out to the President was that the consultant delayed to adequately guide the contractor.”

Byandala personally met with Dott services to make sure work would be delivered within the agreed time frame.

Former UNRA legal advisor, Marvin Baryaruha, pinned Dott services, the company contracted to construct both Mbale- Tororo and Mable- Soroti roads over theft of over Shs130bn, with aide of UNRA officials.

Baryaruha told the commission that numerous documents were passed behind his back to find their way to the officer of the solicitor general and monies were recommended to be paid to dot services.

The Lawyer was shocked that officials from both UNRA and Solicitor general abetted the theft of Shs30bn in a fake compensation.

Dott services are not new to controversy, even during the days of KCC it’s come under spotlight over handling different roads.

Baryaruha further pinned Dott services for masterminding the illegal contract variations that saw the Mbale soroti road move from Shs30bn to Shs60bn, while the Mbale soroti road changed from Shs40bn to Shs103bn.

Former executive directors; Berunado Ssebuga Kimeze and Peter Okiror, faulted the company for not having the experience and manpower to see through the two roads.

Byandala accuses the former UNRA ED of giving him wrong information regarding the project.

“The contractors are here to make money, there is no way they could have allowed me to reduce their work load,” he said.

He said UNRA failed to provide Mbale-soroti-tororo road designs which led to delays in works that cost government Shs30bn.

“I did not advise for road width to be reduced from 9 meters to 6 meters. The existing road was already less than 9 meters.”

Byandala who has been an engineer for over 40 years says there was no evidence produced that some of the equipment was broken yet this was brought up to seal the scam.

Also expected to face the committee is current Works and Transport minister, John Byabagambi.

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