Uganda: Councillors Protest Closure of Building Over Shs200 Million Debt

Lwengo District councillors are up in arms over the continued closure of the district administration block by the contractor over an outstanding debt of Shs210 million.

Led by Mr Abdul Kabugo, who represents Ndagwe Sub-county, the councillors claim the contractor completed one of the three floors of the structure but refused to hand over keys to district leaders, claiming they still owe him money.

During a heated council meeting chaired by the district speaker, Mr William Matovu, on Tuesday, the councillors said they have been remitting part of their allowances towards the construction of the administration block for the last seven years, but they were surprised to receive information that the district still owes the contractor Shs210m, which prompted him to deny them access to the building.

Each councillor has been contributing Shs130,000 per month towards the construction of the three-storeyed block.

“The administration block was supposed to be opened in August after completion of the first phase but up to now, we cannot access it,” Mr Kabugo said. The councillors gave the district leaders a two-week ultimatum to sort out issues with the contractor lest they be forced to cut the padlocks and access the building.

P and D Construction Company Limited is the contractor.

Mr Christopher Ssensalire, the district vice chairperson, said they had agreed with the contractor to pay the balance in instalments and Shs50m has been cleared so far.

“We expected to get part of the money from the central government but unfortunately, the money did not come in time, which caused this delay,” he said.

Mr Grace Kisembe, the chief administrative officer, acknowledged the debt but said they should be allowed to use the building as they mobilise to pay the balance.

Councillors claim that they have always asked the technical team to allow them to talk to the contractors in vain.

An official from the construction company, who preferred anonymity, said the decision to lock up the administration block was reached after receiving information that the district did not raise the projected revenue, which was supposed to clear the debt.

“We also need money to pay our suppliers and we saw this as the only way of pressuring those people to pay the outstanding debt,” he said.


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Publish date : 2018-11-01 12:16:54

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