NEBBI: District officials suspend commissioning classroom blocks over shoddy works

The newly constructed Shs 100m two classrooms block at Jupangira primary school in Nebbi District (Photo/Courtesy)

Nebbi, (UG):- A team of officials from Nebbi District Local Government have halted the commissioning of two classroom blocks worth shs110 million over shoddy works done by the contractor.

The team which consisted of the LC5 Chairperson Mr Urombi Emmanuel, Resident District Commissioner, Mr Robert Abak, the District Education Officer Mr George Ojok and the District Engineer were on Thursday, July 4, 2024, inspecting works at Jupangira Primary School in Jupangira subcounty Nebbi district when they detected defects on the screeded floor and unpainted frames on the to be commissioned structure.

The much-awaited commissioning of the classroom block was thus suspended under the watch of the school management committee members, teachers, pupils and other stakeholders as the district officials ensured value for money in the project as they showcased sympathy for the pupils who beyond reasonable doubt needed the classrooms as early as yesterday.

The contractor of the project, Ongeowun Business Solutions Limited said he is now focused through the magnified eye lenses of the district officials and they have sanctioned corrections of the defects at most within 14 days and the supervising engineer to explain the mess to the RDC as soon as immediately amidst looming reprimand steps of arrest and blacklisting the contractor from undertaking any projects in Nebbi district.

Mr Emmanuel Orombi, LC 5 chairperson denounced the workmanship, objected to the commissioning and as well ordered quality assurance when next he is being invited to commission the block.

“I don’t want to be embarrassed before my voters by commissioning incomplete structure and on the issues of the correction of defects I have given the contractor one week next Friday am coming again with the RDC,” Mr Orombi remarked.

Nebbi district officials inspecting the interior of the structure

The District Engineer Dr Sarah Seninde noted that the defects are minor and can be corrected within the shortest time possible as she allayed fears of financial losses to the government. “It’s not a major defect just an isle the floor can be hacked then rescreened and I want to allay your fears the contractor has only been paid once yet,” she said.

Project supervising committees from the school and district are also queried for hurriedly clearing the project for completion without consideration for quality assurance to ensure value for money in the project executed rather than dilly-dallying and commissioning structures with defects.

Mr George Ojok, Nebbi District Education officer iterated that not all hope is lost because the structure is under a defect liability period. “The building is yet under defect liability period which means corrections can be done because we have not fully paid the contractor,” Ojok said.

Meanwhile, Nebbi RDC, Mr Robert Abak demanded accountability and vowed to apprehend the concerned if no satisfactory explanation and report is availed to him. “This work must be redone in 14 days and I am not proceeding to commission till you confirm to me it is done,” he said.

He added; “If not someone is going to record a statement at the police and the supervision engineer should report to my office to explain the mess and abuse of office.”

Nebbi district seems to be experiencing an increase in shoddy works by contractors exemplified by the  Akworo water project that failed almost immediately after being commissioned by the LC 5 chairperson coupled with this case of Jupangira primary school.

Shoddy works are the most visible negative impacts of corruption in especially infrastructural developments hence endangering the lives of many innocent Ugandans, and some scholars have coded shoddy works as a by-product of dubious handshakes and kickbacks stamped prior to and post procurement of contractors both centrally and locally alike.

The 110 million shillings project was to deliver 2 classroom blocks with an office and store attached at Jupangira Primary School in the financial year 2023/2024.

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