Local Government’s bicycles arrive

Workers opening one of the cartons containing the bicycle parts.
Workers opening one of the cartons containing the bicycle parts.

Permanent secretary vows to recover money from this deal, which has been clouded in controversy.

A few weeks after parliament’s investigation into the failed supply of 70,000 bicycles, the first batch of 1,200 bicycles has finally arrived in the country. The bicycles were delivered by Four Ways Group and

shown to officials from the ministry of local government ahead of a future handover.

Inspecting the batch at the Naguru container depot, Muhanguzi Kasahaka, the permanent secretary for the ministry of local government together with officials from the ministry said they would not receive the bicycles until the ministry of works certified that they were the right specifications. Reacting to press inquiry why only 1,200 bicycles were delivered instead of the 30,000, Kasahaka said they did not expect 30,000 bicycles to come on the same day.

“According to the original shipment schedule. They could not have all the 30,000 bicycles because they would fill the whole ship and would not have where to be kept in the warehouse,” he said. “About the other deliveries we have not confirmed but the documents we received in August indicated that they are on the ship. When they arrive we shall come over and see.”

“These bicycles we have just received represent about a recovery of approximately Shs 300 million,” he added.

The team that inspected the bikes included Yasin Sendaula, an assistant commissioner for urban inspections; Helen Awech, head of the internal audit division; Yerusa Nyangoma, head of the procurement unit; and Sam Emorut Erangot, the assistant commissioner for policy and planning.

This delivery follows an investigation by the parliamentary Committee on Local Government and Public Service over the missing bicycles after the money had been paid, and the arrest of Patrick Bernard Bagarukayo, who allegedly took $510,000 (about Shs 1.4 billion) meant for procurement of 70,000 bicycles.

Details presented to the committee indicated that although there is no clear connection between Bagarukayo and Amman Industrial Tools and Equipment Ltd – an alleged subsidiary firm of an alleged ghost Indian-based firm, Amman Impex Ltd, contracted to supply the bicycles – Stanbic Bank allowed him to withdraw money from the company account to his personal account.

However, even without any official authorization to withdraw money from the account, Stanbic Bank officials told the committee that Bagarugayo was a local representative of Amman Impex Ltd. Arjunan Rejesekaran is also wanted by both police and the local government and public service committee of parliament for failure to supply the bicycles.

By Savio Kyambadde