‘Taxpayers in Uganda to incur extra $ 3.5 million after Chinese firm failed to deliver work’


Taxpayers will be charged an additional $3.5 million for a component of the Entebbe airport expansion after a Chinese company failed to deliver, according to Monitor.
Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) has not taken any action against the company and has not forced it to carry out the work at “no extra cost” according to the contract, Monitor reported, citing investigators in the classified report. Instead, UCAA contracted another company to do the work at an extra cost to the taxpayer, it said.
Investigators in the report highlighted that the contract specified a scope for fuel hydrants on a new apron expansion, which is to be done by China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) at a cost of $3.5 million. However, the scope was transferred to a different contractor, TRISTAR, as per the news report.
These funds are now reallocated to the changes in the cargo centre, which according to the contract should have been done by China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) at no extra cost. The works are part of a USD 200 million loan that the government acquired from the Exim Bank of China to carry out the upgrade and expansion of the Entebbe International Airport, according to a Monitor report. The five-year project conducted by CCCC began in 2015 and was due to be completed in May 2021. Through the Chinese contractor, Uganda Civil Aviation Authority was to provide and upgrade infrastructure and facilities to modern systems, provide passengers with relaxing utilities, and attract revenue for Entebbe International Airport, as per the news report.
The investigators in the report concluded, “The government is bound to make heavy losses resulting from substandard work being delivered by the contractor,” as per the news report. The investigators have said that the project was rejected by cargo operators at Entebbe airport (DAS Handling Limited and the National Aviation Services (NAS), formerly ENHAS.
The airport authorities had asked the two entities to move the operations to the new facility. However, during the inspection, they found that substandard work could not support their operations, according to the Monitor report. The report noted that the cold rooms for handling fresh produce were insufficient and not positioned as expected by the standards and rules.
Investigators said that these were omissions carried out during the design and construction of the building. A source privy to the report told the Sunday Monitor that UCCA officials have fiddled with numbers to protect what they say is CCCC incompetence. “The UCAA team will argue that the contract sum was not changed, but note that there was a scope change in which works for fuel hydrants at apron 1 were removed from the CCCC and given to TRISTAR,” Monitor reported, citing an unnamed source. “The biggest issue is that the person in charge is the director, the project manager, and the chairperson of the contracts committee,” the source added. This change and the decision taken should be accounted for.”
The report noted that the contractors have the responsibility to provide fit-for-purpose designs. The contractor should have been held responsible for the loss.