The Security Minister, Maj Gen Jim Muhwezi, has said the deal to award Russian firm, Joint Stock Global Security to install GPS trackers on all automobiles in the country was sealed before he took over office.
“As earlier clarified by the Attorney General, this project has long been in the pipeline and its details agreed upon prior to my appointment as minister of Security last month,” Gen Muhwezi tweeted.
“Nevertheless, I want to reassure the public that the terms and conditions of the contract provide the government with clear rights and protections should the alleged circumstances materialise,” he added.
Last week, government signed a 10-year contract with the Russian firm to install trackers and new number plates on all public and private vehicles, motorcycles and water vessels in the country.
The deal, whose details remain scanty, has however, came under scrutiny following reports that the contracted firm is facing bankruptcy litigation in a Moscow court.
Experts have also questioned the procurement procedures, citing possible flouting of the procurement law.
The mandatory tracking of vehicles, motorcycles and water vessels, initiated by President Museveni to end gun crime in 2018 resurfaced late last month, shortly after Gen Muhwezi took office as Security minister.
Earlier, the President had said former Security minister Elly Tumwine and Minister for Works and Transport Gen Katumba Wamala had been tasked to fast track the project.
At the signing of the contract, Permanent Secretary in the Office of the President, Mr Yunus Kakande, hailed the Gen Muhwezi for fast-tracking the project in the shortest time.
“We moved very fast, started negotiations with our technical team and with the Russian group which resulted in making an agreement. I want to thank you for your steadfast guidance,” Mr Kakande said.
Gen Muhwezi did not respond to some of the questions requiring specific detail, including the value of the contract, referring journalists to Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Works.
Mr Waiswa Bageya, the Permanent Secretary, however declined to comment on the bankruptcy claims, referring us to Mr Kakande, who did not respond to our calls.
Mr Bageya, however said the signed document is simply a facilitation contract to guide the project implementation and does not address financial details.
Government has maintained that it will not invest in the project and the contract provides a window for them to withdraw in case need arises.
On Tuesday, the Attorney General, Mr Kiryowa Kiwanuka, who admitted to approving the deal, turned tables on journalists asking them to prove the bankruptcy allegations.