Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA) is investigating the controversy surrounding the ongoing procurement process of a contractor to construct Busega-Mpigi highway.
This followed the red flag raised by a whistleblower who petitioned PPDA contesting the Uganda National Roads Authority decision to reevaluate the bid and allow the firms it had disqualified for technical reasons to re-enter the bidding process.
The executive director of PPDA, Mr Benson Turamye, yesterday told Daily Monitor that the petition had been received and handed over to PPDA investigations team.
“The process is still ongoing but our investigations team is studying the petition,” he said.
UNRA’s decision followed a letter by African Development Bank (AFDB), the funders for the over Shs500b construction project on May 18, asking the road’s authority to submit a revised bid evaluation report but also explain reasons for disqualifying the firms.
Changed of criteria
But the whistleblower said instead of UNRA explaining the reasons for disqualifying the firms, the Authority changed the criteria by using prices quoted by the firms as a determinant of who will win the contract and ignored the earlier reasons it had based on to disqualify the firms.
With this reevaluation, according to the whistleblower, the companies that did not meet technical requirements but quoted a low figure have been readmitted into the bidding process for the proposed construction of the 23.7km road.
Several whistleblowers have written to UNRA, PPDA and Africa Development Bank complaining about the procurement process and the bad record of some companies.
For example, UNRA had disqualified M/S China Gezhouba Group for not having the required equipment.
But also on July 12, a whistleblower wrote to PPDA, saying the same company had quoted “unreasonably lower price” which was even 50 per cent lower than the UNRA engineer’s estimates.
According to documents seen by Daily Monitor, the company had quoted Shs390.8b yet the project is estimated by UNRA at shs500b.
Last week, the UNRA executive director, Ms Allen Kagina, wrote to Gezhouba, calling them for a meeting to explain their price quotations.
UNRA had also disqualified a Joint Venture submitted by JV of CMC Ltd and Advent Ltd for showing an intention to sign the Joint Venture instead of officially signing it before submitting the bid.
The same whistleblower said, in the document to PPDA, this was against PPDA regulations.
“This was contrary to requirements of Form ELI-1.2 of the bid document and requirements of the Joint Venture being registered. I wonder what would happen if the two disagree when they have already been awarded the contract,” the whistleblower wrote.
The other companies that were disqualified included; JMC Projects India Limited, Ainaboodah Contracting and seven others.
The back and forth process has delayed UNRA to award the contract for almost a year now since the bidding process for the 23.7km project started.
The project is supposed to begin at Kibuye in Kampala to Mpigi as an expressway before joining the famous Masaka-Mbarara road that feeds into the border with Rwanda at Katuna to link up with a similar project called Kagitumba-Kayonza-Rusumo roads project.
Firms’ price quotations
1. Gezhouba- $108.5m
2. JMC- $135.5m
3. CMC and Advent-$136m
5. China Wuyi-$148.7
6. Al Naboodh-$156.7
7. Moto Engine Africa Ltd-$157.7
8. SBI &RCC -$162.6m
9. AF-Cons Infrastructure-$199.3m
10. Chaina Railway 3- $220.1m
11. Cpc Forcefive-$227.7m
12. MCA Vias Construcoes-$240.8m