Ugandan parliamentary committee to grill officials over stalled hospital construction

Ugandan parliamentary committee to grill officials over stalled hospital construction
The stalled Lubowa hospital project. The Members of the Parliament Committee on Finance and the line ministers were dismayed after they discovered that there was no contractor on their visit to the site on April 21. PHOTO/FILE.

Summary:

  • Muwanga Kivumbi, chair of the PAC-Central, plans to question government officials about delays in the Lubowa hospital construction. The committee’s attempts to inspect the site were thwarted twice due to safety concerns. Kivumbi aims to address discrepancies in payments and lack of transparency surrounding the project.

The chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) – Central, Mr. Muwanga Kivumbi, has announced plans to summon government officials regarding the halted construction of the International Specialized Hospital Uganda (ISHU) situated in Lubowa along Entebbe Road.

Kivumbi stated, “Next week, I will summon the Ministry of Health to finalize the audit report. However, this isn’t solely about the Ministry of Health; I have 552 agencies’ reports to address, and I will handle them decisively.” He emphasized the importance of having key officials, including the engineer, the Permanent Secretary, and representatives from the Accountant General’s office, in attendance for a conclusive meeting.

The decision follows a second unsuccessful attempt by the committee to inspect the construction site due to safety concerns raised by Finasi Construction SPV, the site’s management entity.

Instructions to postpone the visit, originally scheduled for April 26, were relayed through parliamentary channels, prompting the Speaker’s office to advise against the visit, a decision Kivumbi respected, emphasizing his willingness to cooperate.

The committee’s focus stems from discrepancies highlighted in the Auditor General’s report, indicating overpayment for incomplete work on the project. Despite objections from the Ministry of Health, the committee aims to verify these claims through physical inspections.

Kivumbi expressed frustration over the lack of transparency surrounding the Auditor General’s findings, stressing the urgency of obtaining the special audit report. To facilitate this, he plans to convene a meeting on Monday and has extended invitations to relevant government bodies.

Additionally, Kivumbi raised concerns about the presence of military personnel at the site, impeding legislative oversight. He emphasized the hospital’s significance for Ugandan citizens and criticized delays in its completion, citing instances where individuals sought medical treatment abroad due to the project’s stalled progress.

The timeline reveals a series of communications between the Ministry of Health and parliamentary authorities regarding site visits, highlighting ongoing challenges in accessing and evaluating the construction progress.

Despite setbacks, Kivumbi remains committed to uncovering the truth behind the project’s delays and financial irregularities, advocating for accountability and timely completion of the hospital for the benefit of the Ugandan people.

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