Three Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development engineers working 600MW Karuma Hydropower Project on the Kampala – Gulu highway have been suspended over shoddy work. The call to suspend the underperforming engineers was made by President Yoweri Museveni on Wednesday.
According to Chimpreports, a local news website, the affected officials are Principal Energy Officer Eng. Henry Bidasala – Igaga, Eng. Cecelia Menya, former Ag. Permanent Secretary Eng Paul Mubiru, and unnamed Ministry’s Senior Accounting Officer.
The website also mentioned that the permanent secretary ministry of energy Kabagambe Kaliisa was interrogated by a team from the president’s office and was likely to lose his job. Kabagambe couldn’t readily be reached to verify the news but recently the president wrote to Irene Muloni the energy minister asking her to review the work being undertaken at Karuma and Isimba Hydroelectric Power Station.
In the letter, a tough talking Museveni said he had “got disturbing reports that the work being done on the dams of Karuma and Isimba is shoddy because the 'owners' engineers' are either not serious or they have some other issues.” Museveni asked Muloni to suspend the project if there was need.
“Mistakes are being observed at Karuma. The 'owner's engineers' are informed but they do nothing. I, therefore, direct you to, at once, confirm if these stories are true so that you stop further and more irreversible mistakes,” the president wrote in the letter date 22 March, 2016.
He added: “If it is necessary to suspend work until the defects are corrected, it should be done. The 'owners' engineers' could either be re-enforced or even dismissed.” Karuma was contracted state owned Chinese firm called Sinohydro Corporation. It is being funded by Exim Bank of China.
One of the affected engineers, Principal Energy Officer Eng. Henry Bidasala – Igaga, during a field tour with journalists recently said that Karuma would be ready by December, 2018 when the six turbines will be up and running. He told journalists that 30 percent of the construction work was done including excavation works.
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