The Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) has been ordered to recover a sum of Shs 2.1 billion 'overpayment' to Seyani Brothers, the contractors for the re-modification of Entebbe airport.
The airport expansion project which started in 2015 covers the extension of the passenger terminal, construction of a new cargo centre, and refurbishment of the airport’s two runways. As part of the project, M/s Seyani Brothers (U) Ltd was contracted for the landside expansion which sought to provide a new arrivals and departures' block.
The project is funded by UCAA to the tune of Shs 42.6 billion and supervised by Ssentoogo & Partners Limited at a cost of Shs 1.1 billion. But MPs on the parliamentary committee on commissions statutory authorities and state enterprise (Cosase) have established that the contractor has already been overpaid by Shs 2.1 billion.
The matter came up on Thursday as the committee started investigating findings of the review of the technical audit into the expansion of Entebbe airport. According to the review, sample items of executed works that were compared with certified quantities in interim payment certificates showed an anomaly in payments made to Seyani. Now the committee led by the chairperson and Nakawa West MP Joel Ssenyonyi wants this money recovered.
The authority has also for the third time failed to explain the Shs 6 billion variation in architectural designs for the expansion of the airport, also worked on by Seyani brothers. The contract rose from Shs 43 billion to Shs 49 billion.
Although Cosase has been interfacing with the officials from UCAA for the third time, they again failed to provide documents justifying the Shs 6.4 billion contract increment.
But Ronald Twesigye, the manager aerodrome engineering, planning and development at UCAA said that although the initial design was meant to cater for two blocks, this was changed after a review, and incorporated into one single block.
He said that the changes also created room for Uganda Airlines, a development that hadn’t been catered for in the first design. Twesigye said that the new design will handle additional 3.5 million passengers per annum.
The committee also questioned UCAA director-general for reportedly employing relatives. Ssenyonyi explained that he got information from a whistleblower, indicating that several officers at UCAA including Ronald Twesigye who was present at the meeting and others were Bamwesigye’s relatives. The committee tasked the UCAA authorities to come with a list of the mentioned officers and how they were employed.
Bamwesigye, however, said that the accusations were politically motivated.