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Norwegian firm pulls out of Bujagali dam

A lead contractor in the Bujagali dam, Norwegian company Veidekke, has announced it is pulling out of the US$550M project and relocating elsewhere.

‘We have decided to demobilise the site in Uganda for the time being and transfer these resources to other projects,’ said Veidekke president’s statement carried in its financial report for the second quarter.

The report, dated 29 August 2002, says that Veidekke’s Special Projects division ‘recently won a number of major heavy construction contracts in Norway, and the new motorway contract in Sweden is also an example of how this reallocation of resources has opened up new opportunities.’

It was not immediately clear what the impact of Veidekke’s suspension means for the AES Nile Power’s Bujagali dam.

Energy Permanent Secretary Kabagambe-Kaliisa said on 4 September 2002 he was not yet aware of the development, and could therefore not comment.

Veidekke’s suspension of its involvement with Bujagali follows reports the company is investigating the US$10,000 which its English subsidiary allegedly paid into Henry Kaijuka’s London account in 1989. Kaijuka has since said that the money was for his son who had done some work for the company. At the time the money was paid, Kaijuka was minister for Energy.

The discovery of the alleged bribe in July 2002 forced the World Bank Executive Board to suspend approval of the project.