A road under construction. A road construction firm was accusing UNRA of unjustly awarding road upgrade contracts. COURTESY PHOTO

The High in Kampala has dismissed a procurement dispute in which a bidder had sought to block Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) from awarding two road upgrade contracts.

Valley Technical Services, a road construction company had accused UNRA of acting irregularly, unjustly and unfair in conducting the process of procuring contractors for the three year road works and claimed for Shs12.5billion in special damages.

But High Court Judge Lydia Mugambe dismissed the case citing lack of merit and that the Valley Technical Services directors committed illegalities in the procurement process.

“I see no merit in the application. What I see all over this application is a disgruntled competitor for a contract. I am not sure that the court can help such a competitor,” Justice Mugambe ruled.

Justice Mugambe observed that the evidence provided by UNRA’s senior procurement officer, Lilian Bamulange clearly demonstrated that the complaining company committed illegalities and irregularities during the procurement process which automatically disqualified it.  

“Be that as it may, in my assessment discretion, I see no merit in the application. What I see all over this application is a disgruntled competitor for a contractor. I am not sure that the court can help such a competitor. What I am sure of is that judicial review is not meant for such application,” Justice Mugambe held.

Without making orders to legal costs incurred by UNRA, Justice Mugambe ruled that the application had been overtaken by events given the passage of time since it was filed.

“I doubt that the respondent (UNRA) has not already executed the projects in issue with other contractors,” she added.

Court records show that Valley Technical Services had sought to overturn UNRA decisions in awarding a number of roads upgrade contracts in March 2018.

The road construction company had sued UNRA seeking to overturn the procurement process leading to the award of lots for procurement of mechanised maintenance of selected unpaved national roads for 22 UNRA stations for three years to other bidders other than it who was successful.

Through its lawyers, the company had sought a prevention order against UNRA from awarding, implementing or executing contracts for works arising from the impugned procurement process for lots 4 and 7 with other successful bidders as published in the best evaluated bidders for March 2018, a decision which the complaining firm said it was nullified by the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority which UNRA did not comply with.

Valley Technical Services also failed to secure an order prohibiting UNRA from disqualifying it from the bidding process of 2018 for lots 4 and 7 without the publication of the due diligence report as required by the law.   

The case followed the decision of UNRA that displayed the best evaluated bidders as M/s Rodo Construction Limited and M/s Techno Three Uganda Limited and Valley Technical Services as unsuccessful bidders on ground that it failed due diligence.