Chinese road firms return Shs26 billion stolen from UNRA compensation money

Chinese road firms return Shs26 billion stolen from UNRA compensation money
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The five Chinese construction companies ordered to refund sh32 billion out of sh47.7 billion remitted to to them by Uganda National Roads Authority, have refunded 26bn as instructed on Tuesday.

The contractors had a tough time before the Parliamentary Committee of Commissions, State Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) after failing to explain why they failed to compensate people affected by the roads construction and transferred it to their personal accounts.

In a Thursday media briefing, Mr Abdu Katuntu, the Cosase chairperson confirmed the development.

The companies say they used Shs15bn  of the Shs47bn to compensate people. MPs believe there was connivance with UNRA bosses.

It was recently discovered that the implicated companies earned Shs1.5b in interest by keeping in fixed deposit accounts money they were meant to pass onto road Project Affected Persons (PAPs) in different parts of Uganda.

The three companies paid out to some PAPs only Shs13.5 billion of the Shs27.8b that the Uganda National Roads Authority (Unra) advanced them in 2015.

The firms maintain they did not compensate many other PAPs because Unra was yet to “instruct” them to compensate the remaining PAPs as it did when they paid out the Shs15.2b.

The legislators also want the five Chinese Construction company blacklisted and banned from getting any construction work from the government.

The companies: China Railway 18th Bureau Company Ltd, China Railway No. 5 Engineering Group Co. U Ltd, and Zhongmei Engineering Group Ltd, are part of five firms that Unra advanced Shs27.8b in 2015 to compensate PAPs in Mayuge, Bugiri, Busia, Gulu and Ssembabule districts.

Relatedly, Chongqing International Construction Corporation, which Unra contracted to build the Acholi Bur–Musingo road, received Shs7b but has paid out only Shs3.3b.

China Rail No. 5 Group got Shs8.4b for the Gulu–Acholi Bur road but has so far paid out Shs6.8m.

China Railway No. 3 Group got Shs12.9b for Kanoni–Sembabule–Villa Maria road and has so far paid at least Shs5.9 billion.

Zhongmei Engineering Group Ltd, which Unra selected to construct the Gulu-Olwiyo road, got Shs6.5b and has so far paid out 5.7b.

 

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