After almost a year of a stalled procurement process for the contractor of the Busega – Mpigi Expressway, UNRA has been granted a no-objection from the African Development Bank (ADB) the project financiers, to proceed with the selected firm.
The protracted procurement resulted from numerous complaints by whistleblowers and some of the firms that bid for the contract over what they termed as inconsistences by UNRA and flouting of bidding requirements.
In July this year, a whistleblower petitioned PPDA challenging the decision to reevaluate the bid for the contractor and allow firms that had been disqualified for technical reasons to re-enter the bidding process.
UNRA had taken the decision following a letter by the African Development Bank to submit a revised bid evaluation report as well as explain the reasons for disqualifying the firms.
The whistleblower expressed concern that UNRA had disregarded technical competencies of the bidding firms and changed the criteria in favor of the firms that had made the least price quotations for the contract. The procurement was dragged by several whistleblower complaints some of them from the affected firms.
The firms that were bidding for the contract to construct the 23km expressway included; Gezhouba, JMC, CMC and Advent, CCECC and CR19, China Wuyi, Al Naboodh, MOTA ENGIL Africa, SBI and RCC, AF-Cons Infrastructure and China Railway.
As the PPDA laws demand, when red flags are raised on a certain procurement process, the process must be halted until the concerns raised are investigated to ascertain the facts. This has delayed the awarding of the contract, and construction for close to a year.
Today, Tuesday, the funders (ADB) of the project wrote to UNRA giving a no-objection to the firm that was granted the contract. The no-objection is contained in the letter obtained by SoftPower News which was written to the UNRA Executive Director, Allen Kagina by Hussein Yusuf Iman, the Regional Operations Manager for Infrastructure, Private Sector and Industrialization at the African Development Bank (ADB) Group.
“Reference is made to your letter dated October 19 2018, and your bid evaluation report of August 2018 related to the subject project and requesting bank’s no objection to the revised evaluation report,” Hussein writes.
“Our view of your submission indicated that there are major inconsistencies, however it was found not to have impact on the outcome of the evaluation process. If our further review on your submission reveals any issues that warrants your attention, we will share with you in due course,” the bank adds.
The financiers state that based on the information and clarification provided by UNRA, they approve the recommendation to grant the contract to Italian construction company, M/S C.M.C Di Ravenna in joint venture with Advent Construction Ltd from Tanzania.
The construction will cost Shs 501 billion from ADB which is inclusive of 18% VAT (Shs 76.5 billion) to be financed by the government of Uganda.
“We are pleased to inform you that we have no-objection to your recommendation to award the contract for the construction of Busega – Mpigi expressway to M/S C.M.C Di Ravenna in JV with Advent Construction Ltd for the sum of Shs 501Bn”.
The ADB has however cautioned UNRA to stick the evaluation report and to keep the bank appraised of any changes for due approval.
“We would like to advise you to make sure that the contract will be signed with the bidder recommended in your evaluation report. After concluding pre-award discussion with the successful bidder, you could proceed to sign the contract provided that there are no changes in the standard form of the contract included in the bidding document,” the letter from the ADB states.
Should there be any changes in the standard form of contract, the bank said, “we should require you to forward the draft contract documents for our review and no objection”.
Construction for the Busega – Mpigi expressway is supposed to begin at Busega in Kampala then continue south-west through Kyengera, Nabbingo and Nsangi and end at Mpigi before connecting into the already existing Kamppala – Masaka highway.
The design includes four major interchanges at Nabbingo, Nsangi, Maya and Lugala which will allowconnection with the Northern – Kampala expressweay.
The current road between Busega and Mpigi is a two lane single carriageway but government intends to widen it to a four-lane dual carriage highway as part of its efforts to decongest Kampala.