Kikuube Chief Administrative Officer Andrew Milton Kamalingin Chelangat has defended the operationalization of Nyairongo Seed School in Kabwoya sub-county before its completion.
The government contracted Kwik Build Contractors and Engineering Limited in 2019 to construct the seed school at a cost of 1.8 billion shillings. The project covered the construction of classroom blocks, an administration block, an ICT block, science laboratories, pit latrines, fencing, and levelling of the sports field.
Records show that the contractor was expected to complete the project by August 2020. But to date, the contractor is yet to fix doors and windows in some of the classrooms, some of which have developed cracks on the floor, while the compound and sports field have not been levelled yet.
While visiting the school last week, Kikuube Resident District Commissioner-RDC Amlan Tumusiime found that students had already occupied the school before its completion. He then tasked the district officials to furnish his office with a report explaining the circumstances under which they okayed the operationalization of the school before its completion.
But the CAO has defended the move, saying that parents and the school management had petitioned his office to sanction the use of the structure following the huge enrollment and lack of space at the school. He says after the petition, the district council and the education authorities unanimously agreed that the school should begin operations as they waited for the contractor to finish the task.
“It is true we okayed the operationalisation of the school after parents and the school management petitioned my office demanding to use the structure following the huge number of students and lack of space,” Chelangat said.
Javian Agenonga, the Chairperson of the School Management Committee, admits that they petitioned the office of the Chief Administrative Officer-CAO to allow them to begin using the school after the reopening of schools following two years of school closures by the government after the deadly COVID-19 ravaged the country.
He adds that following the reopening of the schools by the government, more than 500 students flocked to the schools to attain an education, yet they did not have enough space to accommodate the students.
Meanwhile, the manhunt for the contractor who has since abandoned the construction site is still ongoing, according to the Kikuube RDC.
In September last year, Peter Ogwal, the State Minister for Economic Monitoring, ordered the arrest of several Kikuube district officials, including Flavia Nabwire, the Assistant Chief Administrative Officer, Emmy Arinaitwe, the District Engineer, Julian Kusiima, the Chief Finance Officer, Moses Irumba, the district internal officer, Nicholas Kwikiriza, and Deogratius Byakagaba, the district Education officer, for paying the contractor 98 percent of the money despite the glaring defects in the structure.
The defects included several cracks in the walls and ceiling in various classrooms of the school and the laboratory. The minister, who was monitoring various government projects in the district, wondered how the district officials okayed the payment of up to 98 percent to the contractor despite the shoddy work displayed and concluded that there could have been connivance.
He also asked the Ministry of Education to carry out a forensic audit on most of the government projects implemented by Kwik Build Contractors and vowed to petition the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority to ensure that the company is blacklisted.
In October 2021, Kibaale district issued a one-month ultimatum to KWIK Build contractors and Engineering Limited to complete the construction of Nyamarwa Seed school in the Nyamarwa sub-county.