Iraji Bridge in Adjumani District, Uganda

The Danish Refugee Council (DRC) received a letter on 19 April 2018 from the Inspectorate of Government citing investigations into the construction of Iraji Bridge in Adjumani District, Uganda. DRC confirmed that the NGO was the implementing partner for UNHCR for this project from October 2014 through April 2015. The bridge was not completed due to lack of additional funds required for the revised design requested by the government. The government of Uganda has investigated the matter in 2018.
 
 

27.12.2018

DRC fully cooperated with the Government authorities undertaking the investigation and has provided all requested information. DRC appreciates the effort of the government to investigate and to provide the report recently received from the Inspector General of Government (IGG). “In terms of the findings, we believe some of the information that DRC provided has not been fully considered, but we accept that the project was not managed to the standard that we strive for,” says Regional Director Heather Amstutz Ferrao. 

 DRC is very disappointed that the bridge was not completed and experienced several challenges during the construction in late 2014 and early 2015. The project stalled when the government requested a revised design after the start of the project. During the project suspended, a fire broke out that caused severe damage to the partially built structure. As the project funds were not able to be extended further into 2015, DRC paid the contractor for the work completed and returned the rest to UNHCR. The project needed significant additional funds to implement the new design as requested by the government, but these funds have been difficult to raise and therefore this bridge project has not progressed. 

 In terms of the report recommendations, DRC will discuss the findings with UNHCR as the IGG directed their recommendations to UNHCR. 

 “It is important to keep in mind that we took on this project under quite challenging constraints including limited time and limited funds. There were good intentions by all involved to build the bridge when short term funds became available to UNHCR. Rather than lose the opportunity to use the funding in Uganda for a worthwhile project, DRC agreed to undertake the project despite the limited time and resources available. However, in hindsight, we should not have accepted to implement the project as it was very difficult to complete the project in such a short period of time and the risks were significant. We take responsibility for making a poor decision to accept the project and for the problems that arose. We have since completed our own due diligence process and cooperated fully with the investigators to make sure that we do everything we can to ensure this won’t happen again,” finished Heather Amstutz Ferrao. 

 DRC’s priority is to support and protect refugees and their hosting communities and we always endeavor to ensure that the resources provided by donors and those with whom we collaborate are responsibly managed with full accountability. We regret that this project was not completed, and we will take all necessary steps to follow up on this and ensure these mistakes will not be repeated. 

 For further information, please contact: 

Heather Amstutz Ferrao 

DRC Regional Director, East Africa and Great Lakes Region [email protected]

+254 723 294 999 

or 

 Annette Spanggaard 

Communications Director, DRC [email protected]

+45 29 26 20 24