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Lubowa Hospital Contractor Explains Why Health Ministry Officials, MPs Got Blocked From Accessing Site

Finasi/Roko Construction SPV Limited, the company government of Uganda through Ministry of Health contracted to undertake construction of the international specialized hospital in Lubowa has explained why Ministry of Health officials and MPs were barred from accessing the site yesterday.

The Construction company feigned ignorance about the visit, arguing that  they learnt about the matter from media reports, an indication that construction workers were on site without supervision from the team of Finasi.

In a statement, Finasi also blamed the Ministry of Health for ambushing the contractor and failing to abide by their contractual agreement to notify the contractor ahead of the visit describing the fracas as unfortunate incident that was caused by the lack of appropriate notification to the SPV regarding the intended visit.

 “It would have been helpful to know the purpose and length of visit as well as the number of persons intended for admission to site, so that the required apparatus/ equipment are assembled and made available. It is hoped that the Ministry of Health as the owner of the project can give adequate notice for the next visit so the necessary arrangements can be made. Once again, the SPV regrets the inconvenience caused,” the statement issued yesterday reads in part.

Finasi also schooled the Ministry of Health on what they described as the critical procedure at all construction sites that require health and safety measures to be sufficiently adhered to at all times for all persons including visitors.

The contractor said that the site has heavy moving machinery and equipment, open trenches among other things that are hazardous to human life if not well managed, arguing that such conditions require proper planning and safety measures to be taken prior to admission of members of the public into the site arguing that this is an industry practice as well as standard operating procedures for a construction site.

Finasi also defended the blocking of the Ministry and lawmakers on the project works investment agreement signed between the project company and the Government that requires prior reasonable notice to the SPV to prepare health and safety gear and apparel as well as conduct health and safety induction to the intended visitors.

“It is common knowledge that if any personal injury or other damages occur on site, responsibility for such injury or damage falls squarely with the contractor. In order to properly manage this kind of risk, the entry of any person who is not a construction worker onto the site must be arranged well ahead of time,” the statement adds. 

While at the site, Minister of Health, Ruth Aceng said she cannot explain why they have been blocked from accessing the site and was quick to give reference to a letter by the Secretary to the Treasury, Keith Muhakanizi written to Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah stopping MPs from visiting the site.

In his 2nd August letter Muhakanizi noted that no government official can visit Lubowa construction site following pending ongoing legal disputes between Finasi and Roko adding that the construction site is “no longer in the hands of government and that government officials cannot move on and off the site at will.”

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