Tororo demands heads of procurement committee over stalled projects

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Tororo demands heads of procurement committee over stalled projects
One of the stalled projects in Tororo | David Ochieng

Security heads and a section of political leaders in Tororo want the district procurement committee dissolved and neutral persons recruited as a measure to the stalling government projects in the district.

The procurement committee is accused of using the office for personal interests. According to the district security team, the committee normally asks for bribes from contractors of up to Shs50 million, making contractors incapacitated to conclude projects.

This comes as a number of government projects stall in the district even after remitting tax prayers monies ahead of 2023/24 financial year closure.

Mwello Seed Secondary school is one of the many stalled projects in Tororo. The school construction was awarded to Zianat Multipurpose International Ltd at a cost of over Shs648million in November last year.

But even after advancing over Shs162 million to the contractor, construction works have stalled.

"We have given the contractor up to 30th of this month to complete the project. Failure to do so, he will have to refund back the money and another contractor awarded the job," the Chief Administrative Officer Tororo, Mr Richard Atama, explained.

Construction of a mortuary at Tororo main hospital is yet another stalled project. The contract was handed over to Jopal Investments and Logistics Ltd at a cost of Shs121 million.

But to date, not even building materials are on site.

"There is no work going on. They have again included this same project in the supplementary budget. As a district leaders you don't need to behave like that," Eddie Obella, a councillor, said.

The Tororo Resident District Commissioner, Nixon Owole, blames the stalling projects on the district procurement committee, that he accuses of taking bribes from contractors.

"The bribery is so much according to reports we're getting. If someone can demand up to Shs50 million from a contract of say Shs200 million, how can such contractor be able to complete the project," Owole said.

With stalling projects most likely to lead the district to return huge sums of monies to the Treasury, the district security boss backed by a section of political leaders are demanding that the district procurement committee be dissolved.

"I am doing a lot of consultation and my target is to find ways on how the procurement committee can be dissolved," Owole said.

"Yes, there is procurement officer but is it a must that procurement officer should be the secretary for procurement committee? Is it a must that district engineer should the chairman of evaluation committee."

George Osinde, a councillor representing Iyolwa subcounty, says the RDC's move has been long overdue.

"The RDC's move should have come yesterday. As district, we're losing huge sums of money due to this stalled projects," Osinde said

In this Financial Year 2023/24, about 10 government projects have stalled in the district even after advancing payments.

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