China Harbor Engineering Company (CHEC), the Chinese state-owned company contracted by the government of Uganda to develop Uganda’snew standard gauge railway network, has dismissed newspaper reports that it is one of the Engineering firms blacklisted by World Bank over fraud and corruption.
A source from aBeijing based Consultant said no international organization has ever put CHEC on its blacklist.
“There must be a misunderstanding. One of the subsidiaries of CHEC’s Mother Company was put on the blacklist before CHEC became part of the group. The World Bank’s debarment of China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) originated from the alleged engagement in collusive practices by China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) UNDER World Bank-financed road projects in Philippines. The alleged event happened in 2002 where as CCCC was established in 2005. Indeed, at the time of the allegation, CHEC was a fully independently operated company and was totally irrelevant to CRBC as well as the alleged engagement in collusive practices. That is the reason why the World Bank’s debarment on CCCC only applies to “projects related to roads and bridges”.
In a related development, the Chinese Transport Ministry has written to Ministry of Works and Transport of Uganda endorsing CHEC as a company with strong capability and30-year international operation experience to implement the railway project in Uganda.
The letter said CHEChas completed/is constructing several railways projects in China including the two contract packages of high speed rail which forms part of the Lanzhou to Xinjiang and Shanghai to Kunming High speed rail network
“These high speed (250 km/h) railways have higher technical and engineering requirements than the standard 120 km/h railways such as Uganda’s standard gauge railway” the letter stated. Adding that;
“Chinese government is very aware of CHEC’s capacity in most sectors of infrastructure, including rail. Because of government’s confidence in CHEC, the rail sections awarded to it are often very complex and geologically complicated”. Said a letter signed by Chinese Transport Minister Yang Chuantang. The East African Community member states have set March 2018 as the target for the upgrading of the regional railway network to standard gauge system.
CHEC officials have said as part of the partnership with UPDF, the company has embarked on preparations to build a pioneering UPDF Corps of Engineers by training army officers in infrastructure development.