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IGG gives Multiplex two months to complete Mbarara City roads

The Deputy IG Patricia Achan Okiria inspects the Mbarara City Road works under USMID constructed by Multiplex Limited. PHOTO URN

Mbarara, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Deputy Inspector General of Government (IGG), Patricia Achan Okiria, has issued a directive to Multiplex Limited to complete three road projects in Mbarara City within two months. The directive came during a meeting held at City Hall on Monday, involving Multiplex Limited, Mbarara City Council authorities, and stakeholders, aiming to find a resolution to complete the city roads without resorting to legal disputes.

The joint contract between Multiplex Limited and Ditaco International Trade was awarded in May 2021, under the Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development (USMID) project, to construct three roads in Mbarara City at a cost of 23 Billion Shillings. The roads include Major Victor Bwana (0.95 km), Galt Road (0.65 km), and Stanley Road (0.78 km).

Originally scheduled to be completed by April last year, the road works faced multiple extensions due to justifiable reasons provided by the contractor. However, the latest extension until March 28th has expired, leading to the contract being subject to liquidation damages.

The Deputy Mbarara City Town Clerk, Lilian Kobusingye, confirmed that the liquidation damages period ended on June 18th. The contractor, however, obtained a court order to halt the charges, prompting the need for an adjudicator to resolve the matter amicably.

The meeting, which followed a letter from Deputy IGG Patricia Achan Okiria on May 15th, aimed to halt the charging of liquidated damages and the termination of contracts awarded to the company until further communication from the IGG’s office. During investigations, issues such as late project commissioning, wrong initial designs, and failure to shift utilities were uncovered.

In response to the findings, Achan directed the city authorities not to charge liquidation damages, clear all overdue payments to the contractor, and either sign a new contract or reverse the expired one within one week. The contractor was also urged to complete the work within two weeks.

During the meeting, both the Contractor and the Project Consultant, MBJ consultants, blamed each other for delays in the project.

Eng Simon Peter Odoochi, the project consultant accused the Contractor of deploying inadequately skilled personnel, leading to communication issues and hindering project implementation.

Moses Bbosa, the director of Multiplex Limited, appreciated the time extension and requested the release of the money held as liquidation damages to progress with the works. He also appealed to halt random evaluations by the project Engineer, as it affects the project’s cash flow.

Mbarara City Mayor Robert Mugabe Kakyebezi expressed concern about the idle money in the accounts, which might be returned to the consolidated fund if not utilized for the project.