UEGCL in spotlight over Isimba, Karuma shoddy work

UEGCL in spotlight over Isimba, Karuma shoddy work
The Auditor General concludes that the anomalies at Karuma and Isimba may lead to high maintenance costs for the projects

Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited (UEGCL) is again in the spotlight for maintaining Consulting Engineer at the troubled Isimba Hydro power dam despite the expiry of its contract in September 2017.

The latest report by the Auditor General released at the end of December 2017 reveals inadequate supervision of the Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractor.

The lack of supervision at the dam according to the Auditor General John Muwanga has resulted into poor concrete quality on site, cracking, cold joints, honey-combing and failed concrete repairs.

The anomalies, according to the audit report, are indications of lack of capacity and inadequate experienced personnel by the Owner’s Engineer to resolve site problems.

“Although the contract for the Consulting Engineer for the Isimba HPP expired in September 2017 and has not been renewed due to poor performance, the same Engineer is still supervising the Karuma HHP causing concerns about the quality of the works at the dam,” reads the report.

The Auditor General’s report comes public just days after a major flooding at the Isimba powerhouse believed to have been caused by the collapsing of the coffer dam due to cracks.

The Energy Ministry and UEGCL indicated last year that the services of Energy Infratech PVT Limited (EIPL) had been terminated.

UEGCL said it assumed the interim supervisory role of Isimba Hydro Power Project, following the expiry of the 40 months supervisory contract as owner’s (government) engineer on the project.

Energy Infratech PVT Limited (EIPL) was mandated with providing professional services, personnel and technical resources appropriate for the supervision of the engineering, procurement and construction works done by the EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) Contractor China International Water and Electric Corporation(CWE).

The Auditor General’s report did not specially mention Energy Infratech PVT Limited (EIPL) but information available in the public domain indicates that it is the only engineering firm whose contract was terminated for shoddy work following the cracks in the structures under construction.

UEGCL Chief Executive Officer, Harrison Mutikanga, could not be reached on phone to respond to the issues raised by the Auditor General. UEGCL is also overseeing the Karuma Hydro power project.

The Auditor General similarly says overseeing the construction progress reports for the Karuma Dam revealed a number of anomalies, including; failures in the quality assurance/quality control procedures. He says the quality control results are likely to be false in some occurrences and therefore unreliable.

The report says like Isimba, poor quality of concrete lining caused cracks in some sections of the Karuma dam.

The Auditor General concludes that the anomalies at Karuma and Isimba may lead to high maintenance costs for the projects.

Muwanga advises management to closely monitor and supervise the EPC contractor and the Owner’s engineer to ensure that they fulfil their obligations under the respective contracts.

– URN