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NSSF PENSION HOUSE SAGA; Bribery, Favoritism cited in latest NSSF multibillion project

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NSSF PENSION HOUSE SAGA; Bribery, Favoritism cited in latest NSSF multibillion project

Artistic Impression of Pension House

A bitter tender squabble is threatening to delay the completion of the workers’ fatter cow: Pension House located on Lumumba Avenue in Kampala.

The project that has so far ensured the completion of the foundation level by Uganda’s Roko construction, that each stage would be contracted to a different building company.

Information reaching our desk alleges that bribery and favoritism has bogged down the tendering process to the extent that an earlier approved contractor has been kept waiting for a full year.

Best bidder ignored

It is alleged that a Chinese firm, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) was evaluated the best bidder in January 2013. However, NSSF has since reportedly sat on CCECC’s bid papers with the effect that the firm cannot be given a green light by the Fund’s board.

As CCECC awaits the final approval, claims are now emerging showing that NSSF lost faith in the earlier procurement process altogether and wants to hire a new firm to carry out a fresh procurement and evaluation process.

Costly move

Our investigations reveal that the Fund managers are in silent talks with a private consultant De Point Development Consultants to do the new procurement process.

This would however prove immensely costly to the Fund and its savers since it would mean spending millions and possibly billions in taking on a new procurement expert, to mention the fact that the Fund already spends heavily on its internal procurement department.

CCECC will also likely resort to court for breach if it is able to convince the judges that it indeed had been selected as the most competent firm.

Whistleblower

Seeking to save the situation, a concerned NSSF saver one Edgar Murumba has petitioned the High Court, demanding that NSSF fast tracks the tendering process. Filed by the National Law Chambers, his case is registered as number 5 of 2014.

Fearing that NSSF may rush through the contract with a private consultant to fail his court case, Murumba has written to the Solicitor General, asking him not to sanction the private procurement contract with NSSF.

We scooped up the letter which is dated January 28, 2014 and bearing reference number CC/5149/PM. It is copied to the Registrar of the High Court. The Registrar received his copy on the very day the letter was written.

Solicitor General sucked in

“It has come to our attention that NSSF is making frantic efforts to sign up contracts with 3rd parties in order to defeat the court process. They are well aware of the court cases and their actions if allowed to go unabated, would certainly constitute an abuse of the court process and lead to more costly litigation that will cost savers of NSSF,” the two paged latter asserts.

Appealing for the Solicitor General’s timely action, Murumba said it will ensure a fair and just process in this matter.

The letter goes on to lay bare NSSF’s ” sinister” plot that is “intended to deprive the best evaluated bidder and giving away the job to one it favors”.

The brewing controversy dogging the Pension will not surprise many since almost all NSSF projects right from the Workers House, Security House, Lubowa and Nsimbe Housing Projects, Temangalo Land deals and the purchase of UMEME shares, have all been beset by fraud.

In case of UMEME shares, the Solicitor General had advised against the deal, but the outgoing managers of the Fund headed by Richard Byarugaba together with the Company Secretary David Nelima ignored the government chief legal officer’s opinion.

A whistle blower later alleged in a dossier to the IGG that the top fund managers received personal shares and hard cash to help UMEME raise funds from the public through listing on the Stock Exchange.

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