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Court Refers Dispute Between Arua Nurse Training School, Contractor to IGG

In a two hours failed mediation meeting between the two parties, Justice Oyuko directed the Inspectorate of Government to investigate why the governing council has ignored the directives by the PS to pay the contractor.
Justice Anthony Ojok Oyuko and other Lawyers during the hearing of the case at Arua High Court today.
Arua High Court Resident Judge, Anthony Oyuko Ojok has referred Arua School of Nursing–ANTS to the Inspectorate of Government for investigations for alleged failure to pay Esmok Engineering Company Shillings 320 Million. 

Arua School of Nursing contracted Esmok engineering company in August 2017 to construct dormitories at the tune of Shillings 1.3 billion after the project was abandoned by another contractor. However, Ministry of Education and Sports revised the contract fee to Shillings 1.62 billion after realizing some ‘agreement errors’, which created a gap of Shillings 320 million.  

However, the school governing board declined to pay the additional money forcing the contractor to petition high court. The Company Director, Patrick Mugisha told court on Tuesday that his efforts to seek payment for the balance to enable him complete the works and handover the facility as directed by the Education Ministry, Permanent Secretary has failed to yield results. 

Through his lawyer, Jodan Osodio from Advocates and Solicitors, Mugisha accused the school management and governing council of frustrating his work by refusing to pay his balance yet MOES expects him to handover the structure. In a two hours failed mediation meeting between the two parties, Justice Oyuko directed the Inspectorate of Government to investigate why the governing council has ignored the directives by the PS to pay the contractor. When asked why he defied the directive, 

Nickson Drani, the Principal Arua School of Nursing, said he couldn’t act against the decision of the governing council. Professor Simon Anguma, the Chairman Governing Council Arua School of Nursing told court that they are not aware of the Shillings 1.6 billion but Shillings 1.309 billion that was duly signed.

“We have no legal basis to pay this money and we will be the people on the wrong if we tell the Principal to pay. Much as it was a directive by the PS, we cannot go ahead to pay since it was not signed by the contracts committee,” said Anguma. The School lawyer, Sam Ondoma, said there was no legal basis for the governing council to pay the money since it wasn’t part of the contract they entered with the contractor.

Mugisha later notified court that he was begged to help do the work after the original contractor who signed an agreement with the former Principal, Anceta Abiyo who retired a year ago abandoned the work and went away with Shillings 320 million he received as advance for the work. 

He also revealed to court that the former contractor complained of a 30-percent kick back by some school officials, which could have prompted him to abandon the work.  Mugisha also told court that he has only received payment of Shillings 1. 070 billion and received two certificates of payment amounting to Shillings 580 million. He says his efforts to demand for the other certificates haven’t yielded results. 

Justice Oyuko wondered why the school has refused to issue certificates of additional works and payments, saying there was possible corruption involved in the works.  “I had the benefit of listening to both parties and carefully perused through the file and I don’t understand on what basis the PS ordered this payment and why the governing council refused to make this payment,” Justice Ojok noted.

Adding that, “Some people are going to lose their bread. I already smell a rat here. I therefore forward this file to the IGG for further investigation,” Justice Ojok ruled. The two parties are expected to return to court on January 24th 2020 to receive a report from the Inspectorate of Government for action. 

According to the contractor, he requires Shillings 70 million to complete the remaining works before handing over the project.      

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