Uganda National Roads Authority has, after protracted procurement challenges, now handed the works for the 23.7km Busega- Mpigi expressway to a consortium of China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) and China Railways 19th Bureau Group Company Ltd.
In the first round of evaluations in August 2018, an Italian consortium CMC Di Ravenna/Advent was selected as the best bidder. This decision was however challenged by whistle blowers who pointed to the fact of forgery on bid documentation by CMC Di Ravenna. Whistleblowers also claimed that personnel proposed by CMC Di Ravenna consortium lacked the requisite technical skills required by a project of such a magnitude.
Both the Inspectorate General of Government and the Public Procurement & Disposal Authority (PPDA) were unanimous in arguing for halting the process. The review showed that CMC Di Ravenna indeed lacked the capacity.
Allen Kagina, UNRA executive director, said the authority and the major funding agency-the African Development Bank (AfDB) agreed not to re-tender the work, but review the paperwork submitted by various companies through the same process. CCECC was the second best evaluated company, and was therefore awarded the contract.
Funded by the African Development Bank and the Government of Uganda, the expressway is part of the Northern Corridor infrastructure- which is the international roads connecting Uganda to Rwanda, Burundi and to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Wen Lei, the country director of CCECC said his company will finish the job on time (within 3 years) and within the Shs 545 billion budget.
The works include a 4-lane expressway, 4 interchanges (at Nsangi, Maya, Lugala and Nabbingo). The expressway is designed to evacuate traffic off Kampala towards western Uganda and onto the neighbouring countries to the west-Rwanda, DR Congo, Burundi.