Hon. Okupa (R) wondered whether there was no conflict of interest in awarding the contract
The Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase) has put to task officials from the Privatisation Unit of the Ministry of Finance over circumstances surrounding selection of Veridos GmbH International that entered a partnership with Uganda Printing and Publishing Company (UPPC).
The committee led by its Chairperson, Hon. Joel Ssenyonyi was interested in finding out if the right process were followed and whether enough due diligence was done before granting Veridos the contract.
The legislators were suspicious of the fact that there was influence peddling and that the contract was specifically awarded to Veridos, putting Mr. Christopher Mugisha, an officer with the Privatisation Unit on the spot.
This transpired during a meeting on Thursday, 30 March 2023.
Hon. Nathan Itungo (Indep., Kashari County South) said it was highly likely that Veridos was handpicked without any procurement process.
“What are the odds that a German company would know there are security gaps in printing processes of a national entity in Uganda?” he said.
Ssenyonyi asked Mugisha for the individuals who approached Ministry of Finance from the President’s office about Veridos’ interest in a partnership.
He added that Mugisha should explain to the MPs what the Privatisation Unit based on to consider Veridos as the best evaluated bidder and the due diligence it did to that effect.
On the matter of correspondence, Mugisha said that he had to look up that kind of information but asserted that there was a correspondence from the Ministry of Presidency to Ministry of Finance.
Mugisha noted that under the guidance of the Attorney General, they followed all the necessary legal framework to select Veridos as the winner of the bid.
Mugisha said that an evaluation committee was constituted and criteria was set to be used in the assessment of Veridos.
“Veridos met the requirements for both the legal and financial due diligence which were more or less a fit and proper test to make sure the company was legally constituted and financially upright,” he added.
When asked by Kasilo County MP, Hon. Elijah Okupa whether they knew about one of the directors of Veridos being a relative of a highly placed Ugandan, Mugisha denied being privy to such information.
Ssenyonyi asked the officials from the Ministry of Finance to furnish the committee with all the documentation on the procurement process of the joint venture between UPPC and Veridos International within a day.