There was no due diligence
before the government contracted Seyani Brothers to modify the
passenger terminal building at Entebbe International Airport. This is part of the findings by the committee
on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises –COSASE, which is scheduled to debate before
Parliament tasked COSASE on October 28, 2021, to inquire into the matter when the Bukooli
Central MP, Solomon Silwanyi raised the matter based
on information from a whistle-blower. Silwanyi then told parliament
that there was misuse and mismanagement of funds collected at the toll gate at
Entebbe International Airport (EIA), accumulation of unpaid leave allowances
and non-remittance of NSSF deductions.
This came up as COSASE
was assessing and evaluating the operations of the Uganda Civil
Aviation Authority (UCAA).
Now, in their report, the COSASE Chairperson, Joel Ssenyonyi notes that Seyani Brothers did not submit a qualified
surveyor for the project as required in the standard bidding document.
He also says that there was no evidence that a
qualified surveyor was used in the project implementation as well as the
required staff and equipment. The Modification of the Passenger Terminal
Building is one of the projects that UCAA is undertaking under the National
Civil Aviation Master Plan that was launched in 2015.
The project comprises
re-modelling of the existing Departure Areas, conversion of the existing Trunk Road into a
departure Check-In-Hall, construction of a 4-Storey new concession block, a New
4-Lane Elevated Trunk Road and a Connection Bridge to access the Departures on
the First Floor of the Existing Terminal Building, external, drainage, and
contracted M/s Seyani Brothers in 2016 to
undertake the modification works. COSASE says that the project was implemented in phases.
The first phase
involved the construction of the 4-level
structure, external finishes of the structure, raised access road, and the
internal finishes of the departures floor. According to Ssenyonyi reports, the works were completed in December 2020 with a defect liability period ending in December 2021.
“Currently, part of the departure area has been
opened for use by passengers and airport stakeholders. In terms of financial
performance, the contractor had been paid all the certificates, including the
5O% of retention. The 50% remaining retention would be paid when due (after the
defects liability period). Construction Works Supervising Consultant, Messrs.
Ssentoogo and Partners, Architects and Planning Consultants were appointed to
facilitate implementation of the Construction Works,” said Ssenyonyi
He further reported that a review of the Designs with Airport stakeholders
and documentation for the project was carried out. He recommended that instead of two separate
building should be constructed combining Departures and Arrivals in line with
the existing Terminal Building.
Ssenyonyi said that this would effectively and
efficiently address the issues of congestion, facilitation and security. He
also told parliament that the re-scoped project or new design would increase
the cost by Shillings 6.4
billion from Shillings 42.69 billion.
//Cue in: “so there was…
Cue out:…weak internal controls,”//
Separation of Domestic and International
The Nakawa West MP recounted that while approving the loan, Parliament
recommended that separate terminals be built for international and domestic
traffic, according to the UCAA Master Plan. He however said that this was ignored during the project implementation leading to the
construction of one building combining domestic and international
Ssenyonyi also observed that the departure
drop-off road lacks a ramp
to ease accessibility to Persons
with Disabilities (PWDs) and that the rooms
reserved for health checks are too
small. He recommends that the
departure drop-off road be redesigned with a ramp to ease accessibility for PWDs and access to the health port be improved.
“UCAA should ensure that for future projects, all
stakeholders are consulted, and comprehensive needs assessment undertaken at
planning and tendering stage to avoid variations,” Ssenyonyi recommended.
Regarding rental arrears by different government
entities at Entebbe, COSASE recommends that UCAA should come up with a policy
to guide its business with Government entities and draw up a recovery plan for
According to Ssenyonyi, different government
entities were in rental arrears worth Shillings 102.4 billion, adding that the arrears date back to 2006. The debtors include the
Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs, Uganda Revenue Authority, Uganda Air
Cargo, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Internal Affairs, National
Metrological Authority and others.