MPs Demand To Meet Russian Firm Over Vehicle Surveillance Project.

By Musisi Yiga John- Updated at 2107 EAT on March 1st 2022.

Hon Nyakikongoro, the chair of the Defence committee (R), Hon Karubanga (C) and Hon Opendi during the committee meeting

Members of Parliament want to meet the management of the Russian firm contracted to implement the Intelligent Transport Monitoring System (ITMS).

During a joint meeting of the Committees of Defence and Internal Affairs and Physical Infrastructure on Tuesday, 01 March 2022, MPs proposed a direct engagement with the firm and where necessary provide a prototype to demonstrate how the project will be implemented.

“We would like to meet the people vending the project; let them come and demonstrate to us and we interrogate or if they have prototypes, then we can look at them so that we inform the House and the public just to be sure that the system is functional,” Hon David Karubanga, the Chairperson of the Committee on Physical Infrastructure said.

Government is in partnership with M/S Joint Stock Company Global Security, a Moscow based company to install new number plates with unique security features on all government and private vehicles to curb murders, robberies and car thefts.

The Vice Chairperson of the Committee, Hon Robert Kasolo, said that Parliament should not only interrogate how the motor vehicle tracking system works, but also interrogate the entire project including profiling the firm and how government reportedly signed the contract without competitive bidding.

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“We need to know whether the system cannot be subjected to technical manipulation, cyber challenges and other encumbrances that come with a system of that nature,” Kasolo said.

Hon Moses Kabuusu (FDC, Kyamuswa County) proposed that a team from Parliament benchmarks and consults widely to establish if the Russian firm has actually successfully implemented a similar project elsewhere.

Citing past incidents where government procured junk helicopters, Hon Ronald Balimwezo (NUP, Nakawa East) called for due diligence to be carried out on the Russian firm. He also expressed fears that the installation of tracking devices would intrude into peoples’ right to privacy and would facilitate abuse of human rights by security operatives.

The probe arises from a motion tabled by Tororo District Woman MP, Hon Sarah Opendi on 30 November 2021 urging Government to examine the implementation of the ITMS to address public concerns related to extra cost to be incurred by the owners of vehicles, likelihood of intrusion into peoples’ right to privacy and assurances on value for money.

Opendi wants government to meet all costs required for installation of the tracking system. She also demands that government considers installing the tracking system on government vehicles, passenger service vehicles and assess its effectiveness before rolling out to all vehicles.  

The two committees are expected to have another joint meeting with the Ministers of Security and Works and Transport.

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