Contractors in Trouble in Rubanda District over shoddy  Work at Health Center III

By Naboth Isaac Niwagaba

Ricky Contractors and Bakaruhire Contractors Limited, the companies tasked with the construction of Mpungu Health Center III Maternity Ward and a Rain Water Harvesting Tank in Rubanda District, are on the spot for shoddy work.

The shoddy works were revealed to the press during the commissioning of the medical staff building constructed by Geses Uganda Ltd. at a cost of U.G. Shs. 142 million. While Geses Uganda Ltd. was praised for its work, several complaints were lodged against Ricky and Bakaruhire contractors for failing to meet the expectations of their projects at the Maternity Ward and the Rain Harvesting Tank.

Following the elevation of Mpungu Health Center II to Health Center III, Ricky was contracted by the Ministry of Health in the financial year 2018–2019 to upgrade the facility, at a cost of U.G. Shs. 500 million. The building in Mpungu Parish, Hamurwa Subcounty, included the installation of a solar electricity system.Bakaruhire contractors also undertook the construction of a 30 cubic meter rainwater harvesting tank on the same facility.

However, two years after the construction work was completed, the project was not handed over due to reports of poor workmanship.

According to the Rubanda District Health Officer, Dr. Abdon Birungi, after Ricky contractors announced completion of the maternity ward in 2021, an assessment was done and it was found out that the building had cracks in the walls and on the floor, and the solar electricity system had broken down before commissioning.

Dr. Birungi says the contractor rushed back to the site and rectified the faults, but a few weeks later, the cracks resurfaced and the solar system also broke down again. He says the contractor has since failed to return to the site.

Rubanda District Engineer Denis Twesigomwe said that there was also shoddy work at the rainwater harvesting tank that was built by Bakaruhire Contractors Ltd. The 30-cubic-meter rainwater harvesting tank started leaking from the base before it was handed over for commissioning. He said the leakages were observed during the six-month defect liability period.

Rubanda District LC.5 Chairperson Ampeire Stephen Kasyaba said he had attempted to engage Ricky contractors, but the Director asked him to back off since the contract was awarded by the central government. However, Kasyaba vowed to have the contractor brought to order. He asked the District Chief Administrative Officer to withhold 10% of the $500 million that was supposed to be given to the contractor after completion and handover of the project until the matter is resolved.

“When I engaged the man on a phone call, he asked me to back off since I am not his direct employer.” “But when he comes for his certificate at the district, we shall face off,” Kasyaba said.

Kasyaba also asked the district authorities not to pay the Bakaruhire contractors before they rectify the defects on the rainwater harvesting tank.

Meanwhile, the Rubanda District Principal Assistant Secretary, Elly Mucunguzi, justified the high cost of government construction projects, arguing that quality is always the main focus.

“People have been questioning the high cost of these projects, but they are worth it.” The government wants buildings that last for years to serve generations. That is why, instead of the usual 5:1 ratio, we must use three wheelbarrows of sand in only one bag of cement,” he explained.

Mr. Mucunguzi tasked the locals to always participate in monitoring the ongoing government construction projects with their leaders to ensure that they are not cheated by contractors.