MPs now move to make gov't sweat over Lubowa hospital

Committee, chaired by Muwanga Kivumbi, has vowed to visit the site to access the developments.

The Public Accounts Committee of Parliament (PAC) has summoned the Secretary to Treasury, Ramathan Ggoobi, to account for over $474 million allocated for construction of the controversial Lubowa Specialised International Hospital.

To-date , the government has issued seven promissory notes worth $133.6 million, with only 35.2 percent work complete.

Committee, chaired by Muwanga Kivumbi, has vowed to visit the site to access the developments.

PAC continues to unearth wastage of taxpayers money that has been allocated on the construction of Lubowa hospital after the report from Auditor General pinned Ministry of Finance for issuing promissory notes.

In December 2018, the government signed a promissory note purchase agreement with Ministry of Health as implementing agency, Africa Export Import Bank, Trade and development bank ( TDB), and Barclays Bank to fund the subject project up to a tune of $379.71 milllion.

It's completion was expected by December 9, 2022.

However, the government, with contractor Finasi-ISHU, renegotiated and signed an addendum to the project works investment agreement in December 2022 after expiry of the promissory note purchase agreement.

Committee members have faulted the Ministry of Finance for basing on reports submitted by the contractor's engineers to issue promissory notes worth Shs476.5bn without physical works being completed and the person to answer all these queries Ggoobi had skipped the meeting.

Section 5.3(e) of the signed agreement provides that remuneration of the construction works of the hospital will accrue upon the achievement of each milestone and issuance of a milestone completion certificate by the owners engineer.

The clause says this will be payable through the promissory notes to be issued by government with a face value determined in accordance with the approved cash flow forecast.

The committee members noted that the milestone certificates were largely based on reports submitted  by the contractor's engineers' consultation fees and not for physical works completed.

Thus, as a total of seven promissory notes worth Shs.476.5bn have since been paid by Treasury to the note financer.

Committee members led by chairperson Kivumbi have vowed to set foot at the site in question in Lubowa days after Leader of Opposition, Joel Ssenyonyi, and his Shadow Cabinet were blocked from accessing the site.

Other concerns included failure to budget court awards of over shs.400bn.

At the beginning of 2022/23 court awards and compensation stood at Shs1.473 trillion.

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