15 February 2017

Uganda: State House to Probe Stalled Shs2 Billion Serere Fishing Project

Photo: Joseph Eigu Onyango/Daily Monitor
Other use. Residents fetch water at Kagwara Landing Site in Serere District early this year.

Serere — A day after Daily Monitor published a story about the Shs2 billion stalled World Bank-funded Serere fishing project, State House has announced they have commenced investigations into the matter beginning next month.

Mr Dan Mulalu, the private secretary in charge of political affairs and mobilisation at the Office of the President, told Daily Monitor in an interview on Tuesday that the ministry of Agriculture must explain why a big project that directly falls under their docket was abandoned despite government spending money on it to benefit the population.

"State House has just learnt of the fraud and we are going to bring the matter to the attention of the President," Mr Mulalu said, adding that they are soon visiting the project site in Serere District.

According to Mr Mulalu, whoever was involved in the messing up of the project will be asked to refund the money or face the law.

The project, located at Kagwara Landing Site, had been planned to pave way for the processing and exportation of silver fish (Mukene) to international markets.

It is alleged that in the 2012/ 2013 Financial Year, government through the ministry of Agriculture, awarded a contract to Pama Construction Company to construct and upgrade Kagwara Landing Site.

However, an impromptu tour of the site by this newspaper early this week found out that the construction stalled and one is greeted by dilapidated structures.

The Serere District chairperson, Mr Joseph Opit, said the project was abandoned after the implementers' allegedly defrauded government.

He added that in 2014, Serere District leaders and then minister of State for Fisheries, Ms Ruth Nankabirwa, boycotted commissioning the site, citing shoddy work.

When contacted on Monday, Ms Nankabirwa, who is now government Chief Whip, said: "l went and assessed the project and made recommendations but shortly after, there was a Cabinet reshuffle, so I left and now I don't know about any further developments."

However, reports indicate that during last year's presidential campaigns, some district leaders in Serere connived with President Museveni's protocol team and diverted the President from visiting the site, which was one of the planned venues the President was to address his supporters.

The diversion was allegedly meant to prevent Mr Museveni from losing the votes from the area fearing the residents would be angry at him over the stalled project.

Currently, the residents are using the facility for drying their clothes, among other domestic uses.


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