Shock will never end in Uganda most especially when it comes to unfair public funds allocation, embezzlement and misuse to run government activities.
In this, talk we walk you through how a COVID-19 food contractor bagged Shs3.3bn after offering food to the government at hiked prices.
COVID-19 landed in Uganda in February 2020 leading to the total closure of every avenue in the country. It was a mysterious disaster to almost everyone. However, so many have also benefited from the disease.
Well, the government devised WHO recommended means to quarantine victims all over the country in particularly designated places.
As a result, the Ministry of Health had to find means of providing meals to the victims, suspects and real-time workers and support staff in this regard in various quarantine centers and hospitals.
M/s Keba Investments Limited, the covid-19 patients’ food suppliers won big from this ambiguous scheme of the government.
According to the COVID-19 Interventions Report for Financial Year 2019/20 released by Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development’s Budget Monitoring and Accountability Unit (BMAU) in October 2020, the Government ‘reportedly’ paid up to Ugx 105,000 for a plate of food for COVID-19 patients in Kampala.
The government allocated a supplementary budget of Ugx 4.3bn to cater for special meals and drinks for quarantined individuals, COVID-19 suspects and patients.
Through a framework contract, the Ministry of Health contracted M/s Keba Investments Limited to provide food for the National Task Force, quarantine and treatment centers.
Some provisions in the contract stated breakfast at Shs5,000 Lunch and dinner at Shs20,000 respectively.
However, according to the report, the cost of the supplied food varied as per the location like in Jinja food was supplied at Shs 15,000, Shs 62,000 in Arua, Shs 45,000 in Entebbe and Shs105,000 at Grand Global Hotel – Kampala.
The report further added the Keba Restaurant also provided meals and breakfast to the National Task Force at Shs18,000 and Shs6,000 respectively.
By 25th June, 2020 the contractor had made invoices for food worth Shs3.3bn.
The financial leads resulted from the meals supplies which the contractor provided to the quarantined people and health workers at DDA Training Institute, Ministry of Health Call Centre, Institute of Surveys and Land Management, Entebbe Regional Referral Hospital, Fisheries Training Institute, National Meteorological Training School, among others.
Another lead revealed by the report indicated that the Ministry of Health accommodated over 2,500 COVID-19 suspects and returnees from abroad in several institutions by August 2020.
These included institutes and selected hotels in Entebbe, Kampala and other areas, among others.
According to the report, the unit cost of full accommodation varied from Shs60, 000 to Shs250, 000.
The report also asserted that MoH paid M/s Kirigime Guest House over Shs170million for quarantine services rendered to 86 travellers. The cost per room at the Guest House was Shs60,000 exclusive of meals of Shs50,000 (breakfast and evening tea at Shs10,000 respectively; Lunch and dinner at Shs40,000).
Particular variances and omissions were also noticed in the process emerging from some providers and the reported cited t a total variance of over Shs65million in relation to catering services offered by M/s Keba Investments Ltd in May 2020.
It was publicly clear that if you are suspected and quarantined, you would cater to the accommodation costs. However, this wasn’t the case as Ministry of Health went ahead to incur costs for a number of suspects and victims under unknown criteria of the selection of beneficiaries.
According to Wordometer, Uganda COVID-19 cases as of 10th December 2020, holds at 25,059, 219 deaths and 9,510 recoveries.