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Min. Kasaija Warns MPs Against Probing Lubowa Hospital Saga As More Rot Emerges

The Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Matia Kasaija has reportedly warned Parliament’s Committee of National Economy against investigating the Lubowa Hospital saga.

Government approved the construction of the international Specialised Hospital in Lubowa pursuant to a Project Works investment Agreement(PWIA) signed in October 2015 and in March 2019, Parliament approved the request by Government to issue promissory notes to a tune of USD379.71m (about Shs1.393Trn) for the construction of the health facility.

Government signed with the contractor Finasi/Roko SPV Ltd a Project Services Agreement in December 2015 for the construction, operation and maintenance of the hospital for a period of eight years and a Direct Agreement in December 2018 with the lenders and contractor.

The project has since been marred with controversy which Parliament is trying to investigate.

However, during a meeting held today with Deputy Attorney General, Mwesigwa Rukutana, who had been summoned to give legal opinion on the fiasco that has shrouded the contract of the international specialized hospital in Lubowa, former Finance Minister, Syda Bbumba, who also doubles as Chairperson, Committee of National Economy disclosed a letter written to the Committee from the Minister of Finance, warning the Committee against investigating the matter.

She however said the probe wasn’t looking into details of the project but into the information given before the funding decision was taken.

 “But at the same time, there is a lot of lacuna regarding the new developments. This was a project that was passed with a lot of restraint, there was serious opposition, some of us thought we had enough information and on the face of it, the information was convincing that the project was a good project and we were guided by your certificate that all the legal matters had been properly examined and been found fitting,” Bbumba told Rukutana.

In response,  Rukutana told lawmakers that the ongoing contractual bickering between Finasi/Roko Construction SPV Ltd and Roko construction Ltd will not affect the progress of the Lubowa specialized Hospital, adding that reports from the supervising agencies indicate a smooth flow of the works at site.

 “As of now, we know there is disagreement between the shareholders of the companies which we contracted,” Rukutana said.

He added: “Implementation of the project agreement is going on so well, the information I have is that implementation is ahead of schedule, so even if we know there are disagreements, those disagreements haven’t affected the execution of the works per agreement, so it is not yet of our concern provided that the works are going on in accordance with the law to impact the agreement we signed.”

However, Legislators including Hebert Ariko (Soroti Municipality), Odongo Otto (Aruu County) and Aston Kajara questioned how Rukutana would argue that the project was progressing well while the supervising Ministries of Finance and Health were failing to agree on the supervisor.

Rukutana denied knowledge of the disagreement between Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Health and told the committee that he would consider meeting officials from the two government departments to solve the issues surrounding the implementation of the project.

 “I didn’t know that as a matter of fact, we haven’t received any presentations on that matter if it was true that an outside engineer to be provided by the Ministry of Health and Finasi are insisting on their own, then of course that would be a breach of the agreement,” he said.

He added that none of the two Ministries has raised legal matters and promised to look into it when concerns are raised.

 “I am not aware of any parallel movement but if there is any disagreement or lack of cohesion, as Government we have the mechanism to resolve the matter and streamline the work of the Ministry,” he said.

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