The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has denied ever issuing a certificate, certifying the equipment used by Societe General Desurveillance (SGS), a Swiss-based company contracted to inspect vehicles in Uganda.
The revelation was made this morning by Patricia Bageine Ejalu, the Deputy Executive Director of UNBS, while appearing before the Parliament Physical Infrastructure Committee that is investigating circumstances surrounding the contract drawn between the Uganda Government and the Swiss company.
And Ms. Bageine told Parliament that the Ministry of Works and Transport invited the standards body in November 2015 to draft the regulations for vehicle inspection, yet the contract had already been signed in March 2015, meaning the equipment wasn’t certified before contract signing.
Interestingly, Ms. Bageine made the statement after being grilled by MPs on the inspection of SGS equipment, after she had earlier presented a statement saying the standards body had inspected the equipment. Indeed, she had earlier insisted that the equipment satisfies international standards and is traceable to the International Systems of Units but she was forced to change her statement and apologize to the members for giving false information.
Additionally, the Standards body boss informed the Committee that when a team of experts was sent to the SGS site, they discovered that the company has only one set of equipment used to inspect all types of vehicles in the country irrespective of the manufacturer.
As if that wasn’t enough, the equipment found on site was only capable of inspecting old vehicles, not new ones, they said.
Ms. Bageine however admitted that UNBS also falls short of its mandate, given the fact that the entity has no capacity to inspect all the equipment brought in the country for different roles.
She also decried the continued sidelining of UNBS by government entities when it comes to procurement of equipment, arguing that their input isn’t sought before the contracts are signed.
She also called on Parliament to put in place mechanisms to ensure that UNBS is involved during the purchase so that the right Ugandan standards are enhanced.