Minister of state for transport Fred Byamukama inspects the newly bought locomotive
Members of Parliament have faulted Uganda Railway Corporation for purchasing old locomotives at a cost that was much higher than that of new locomotives.
The Parliament Committee on Commissions Statutory Authorities and State Enterprise (COSASE) was today meeting officials from URC over the procurement of locomotives which were later found not to be compatible with Uganda’s rail system. This follows concern that the eight-year-old locomotives were long and couldn’t turn on the available triangular sections of the rail among other challenges.
A team of URC officials led by Managing Director Stanley Sendegeya told the committee that they had initially planned to procure six-year-old locomotives at 36 billion Shillings but they ended up procuring four eight-year-old locomotives at 48 billion shillings. The decision, he says, was taken by Chief Engineer Julius Musimenta in disregard of recommendations by a team of experts within URC.
Peter Katwebaze, the Acting Chief Mechanical Engineer said that the reason they went for the old ones was that the new ones would take between two to three years to be procured and yet the locomotives were needed urgently.
Committee Chairperson Joel Ssenyonyi questioned the transition from the initial 36 billion for slightly newer locomotives, to 48 billion shillings for older ones.
Katwebaze, however, said that the evaluation at that time took into consideration the foreign exchange rates and the viability of procuring new versus old. He added that the figures were out of a feasibility study.
Rukiga County MP Roland Ndyomugenyi said that the URC officials were not telling the truth as they cannot start the basis of the 36 billion for new locomotives and 48 billion for older ones.
Tom Kimera, a Procurement officer at URC was handed over to the Parliaments Criminal Investigations Department (CID) to record a statement over the varying costs.