The Contracts Committee at the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs has cited illegalities and gross fraud in the process employed in awarding the contract for the building of premises intended to house the Justice Law and Order Sector (JLOS).
The committee unearthed an inflated and unjustifiable increment of Shs14,830,088,354 by Seyani Brothers and Company Uganda Ltd, a local construction firm who were awarded the bid – but it’s not clear how the quotation changed from Shs 241,608,637,720 to Shs 256,438,726,074.
A top source, who did not want to be identified said the said contract, the committee unearthed irregularities in the bid evaluation process, that suggested error and omission that could have been intended to favour a particular contractor, and in the process unfairly awarding the contract Seyani Brothers who had emerged the lowest bidders.
According to a report of the Evaluation Committee chaired by Mr. Sam Wairagala, ten companies submitted bids to the committee, including M/S Zhongjiao third highway engineering (EA) Company Ltd (Shs329,085,479,040), M/S China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (Shs224,561,455,452), M/S Consortium of China Communications Construction company Ltd and China First Highway Engineering Ltd (Shs522,281,795,283) and M/S Zongyang Construction Group Company Ltd (Shs270,533,009,992) all Chinese companies.
Others are M/S Seyani Brothers and Company Uganda Ltd, an Indian firm, (Shs241,698,637,254), M/S China National Aero-technology international engineering Corporation (Shs280,093,511,526), M/ S SMS Construction Limited and Farrin Joint Venture (Ugandan) (Shs212,263,924,272) and China Railway Construction Engineering Group (Shs274,874,281,734.21). M/S Sino-hydro Corporation Limited (Shs 496,414,290,527) and M/S Sadeem Al Kuwait General Trading and Contracting Company (Shs243,143,599,032) had also applied.
However, M/S Zhongjiao Third highway engineering (EA) Company Ltd, M/S China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation and M/S Zongyang Construction Group Company Ltd were eliminated at initial stage. The rest of the companies were subjected to rigorous technical evaluations according to the source.
The source said three of the remaining seven, were eliminated on technicalities including SMS Construction Ltd and Farrin Joint Venture, who was the lowest bidder.
These are; M/S Consortium of China Communications Construction company Ltd and China First Highway Engineering Ltd, SMS Construction M/ S SMS Construction Limited and Farrin Joint Venture and M/S Sadeem Al Kuwait General Trading and Contracting Company.
The lowest bidder of the four, was M/S Seyani Brothers and Company Uganda Ltd at UGX256, 438, 726, 074 followed by China Railway Construction Engineering Group at Shs294,263,358,382, China National Aero Technology International Engineering Corporation came third at Shs299,654,081,010 and the fourth was China Sino-hydro Corporation Limited at Shs531,163,290,863.
The source said the Contracts Committee found that the Evaluation Committee flouted the bidding law particularly Regulation 17(2 and 6) of SI No.7 of 2014, which empowers the contracts committee to invite a technical person to clarify on the submissions.
In this case the evaluation committee blindsided some of the bidders. For example, whereas clarification was sought from Sadeen and Kuwait General Trading and Contracting company, M/S Seyani Brothers concerning their bid documents the other two companies Consortium of China Communication Company Ltd and China First-Highway Engineering Ltd were never contacted. This is in contravention of Section 43 A and B of the PPDA Act.
The Contracts Committee according to the PPDA Act holds power to approve an Evaluation Committee for each submitted procurement. It also has power to approve negotiation teams, to ensure that before it is approved, a procurement is in accordance with the procurement plan.
The Contracts Committee also approves bidding and contract documents. According to the Contracts committee report, the process was marred by “incurable irregularities” and the contract could not be passed.