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Lubowa hospital funds reported missing

Artistic impression of Lubowa International Specialized Hospital

Artistic impression of Lubowa International Specialized Hospital

Parliament has started investigating reports that more than Shs 140 billion set aside for the construction of the Lubowa International Specialized Hospital has gone missing.

In March this year, parliament approved a guarantee of $379 million (about Shs 1.4 trillion) for the construction of the hospital in Lubowa, Wakiso district. The project is a brainchild of Enrica Pinetti an Italian investor of Finasi-Roko Construction SPV Limited, an entity which specializes in the construction of turnkey health care facilities is behind the project.          

The Ugandan government agreed to finance the firm to construct and run the specialized facility and payback within eight years from the commencement of operations. The facility with a 264-bed specialized healthcare capacity will be operated as a world-class internationally accredited facility to treat conditions for which Ugandans have been travelling abroad.

The conditions include cancer treatment, heart diseases, organ transplant, fertility treatment, highly specialized surgeries, and bone marrow transplant, among others. Now, Soroti Municipality MP Herbert Ariko told parliament this afternoon that the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank released Shs 327 billion on May 16 to finance the project. However, he added that Stanbic bank, where the money was transferred to, only released Shs 188 billion.    

According to Ariko, the missing funds amounting to Shs 140 billion ($37 million) of the Shs 327 billion, has already gone missing. He asked parliament to monitor and evaluate the hospital project step by step and review Eng Francis Wakabi whose contract is still running despite a recommendation for its termination.     

"So far work has began, where has the $37m gone? Madam speaker this parliament required a strict schedule of disbursement of this money, can we request the minister of Health to provide this parliament with a strict breakdown of signatories and disbursement of this money? Madam speaker, secondly, the committee did not get to interface with the direct implementers of the project - that is Finasi International and Roko Construction." said Ariko. 

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga asked the parliamentary Health Committee to invite the investor to explain the shortfall. She also asked the government to give a detailed schedule on the plan for the construction of the hospital and its phases. 

"Our work is not just on budgeting, but we’re supposed to be monitoring those sectors and even on our own we can cause a meeting. So can we ask the committee on Health to actually invite those [contractors]. I also heard that they did not come to defend the proposal here. So can we ask the committee on Health to invite them to give us an update at the earliest opportunity and also the minister of Finance and give us the timelines for the actual action plans." Kadaga said. 


+1 #11 Mubiru 2019-05-30 18:28
If in the very unlikely circumstances public funds are not missing in Uganda for the first time since 1986 that would be a miracle which should make front page news in the papers and be reported on prime time on the air media even overseas.

The media should concentrate on other issues rather than inflicting the public with more pain by reading about their missing billions which the government is not willing to recover.

They cant even confiscate looters ill-gotten mansions. When it comes to term limits beneficiaries unceasingly cite UK as the example and in all sanity they should also learn from the same country where they are currently seizing billions of pounds sterling banked in uk institutions by Russian and other overseas thieves.

Their properties are seized like that of an eastern woman married to an imprisoned bank manager who stole billions and banked them in UK. The woman spent over £11millions for shopping only at one the most expensive shops in West London.
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+1 #12 Kalani Jonathsn 2019-05-30 19:10
This is not a surprise.

Even the IGG will not be able to catch the thief because the thieves are above government and they are far above in the clouds.

How can she catch them? No body can resign over this because that is a way of survival.
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+1 #13 rubangakene 2019-05-30 19:58
Allelluya, ayeloyee; we told you so!

This project smelled like a rat from the word go, you see if Uganda is really keen on good projects, these should begin with parliament and its associated technocrats who will map a strategic plan/monies and any other oversights and and sanctions, only then will it go to state house for a ceremonial stamp; not the other way round through "oral agreement in that stall in State House." Uganda as always will remain "a low hanging fruit tree" for international crooks!
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+1 #14 Akao 2019-05-30 20:43
Quoting The commenter:
Only the almighty God can save the Pearl of Africa. Not a ghetto president or a besigye or any man. The country requires divine intervention.

The commenter, no god is going to save Uganda. It's the effort of collective people to get rid of the current Gov and try another one.

It happened in a lot of countries, like Sudan recently. The attitude of waiting for god that may not exist to deliver everything in Africa is the reason countries in Africa will remain develoing.

While other countries are looking for vaccine for ebola, Ugandans are spending 6 days a week in churches waiting for blessings
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+1 #15 Lakwena 2019-05-31 10:20
Quoting rubangakene:
Allelluya, ayeloyee; we told you so!

This project smelled like a rat from the word go, you see if Uganda is really keen on good projects, these should begin with parliament and its associated technocrats who will map a strategic plan/monies and any other oversights and and sanctions, ...

In other words Rubangakene, apart from borrowed money for such projects being stolen left, right and center; as you have noted (low hanging fruits), what if this facility will be used for cannibalizing Ugandans of their vital organs like: Kidney and Heart?

Otherwise, there is a viral social media conspiracy theory that: in cahoot with Italian Mafias, the members of the 1st family, in-laws and notorious untouchable Cabinet Ministers, are grossly engaged in human and their organ trafficking.
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+1 #16 Lakwena 2019-05-31 10:25
In other words, Ugandans organs kidneys, heart, etc. will be harvested like mangoes.
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