By Edwin Muhumuza
Finance State Minister David Bahati has revealed that Uganda is forming a team that will travel to Juba, South Sudan on 15th April, in a bid to exert pressure on their counterparts to enforce the bilateral agreement in which South Sudan government committed to refund the money owed to Uganda as damages and losses to property and business owned by Ugandans.
Bahati who was appearing before the parliaments select committee was reacting to concerns raised by some traders who have been ignored after the Finance Ministry paid Shs 40 billion to ten(10) Uganda-South Sudan grain traders yet the list outlines 23 companies.
The minister notes that the main obstacle against the move to refund Ugandan traders who made losses in South Sudan during the war was the difficulty to form a joint verification committee from both governments.
On Tuesday, March 26, the minister of Trade Ms. Amelia Kyambadde disowned the list of Ugandan companies that were approved before Parliament seeking for compensation for their lost goods in South Sudan during the war in 2013.
The committee chairperson highlighted that there have risen a number of concerns from several witnesses that have appeared before the committee accusing her ministry of leaving them out while compiling the list of beneficiaries.
However, she denied the responsibility of manipulating the list of companies noting that they compiled a genuine list which was arrived at during an inter-ministerial committee verification process which was constituted by the Ministry of Trade, that of Finance, and of Justice.
During the session,Bahati also denied owning companies that benefited from compensation over loss of business in South Sudan. He told the committee that even if he owned a company in South Sudan, he wouldn’t accept to be part of the on-going compensation process.
This after the Select Committee Chairperson Ann Maria Nankabirwa revealed that she had received information alleging that Bahati’s companies were part of those defrauded in South Sudan and are in a process of being compensated. She read out M/S Kaimat Enterprises, M/S Jan Jang Company Limited and M/S Nile Site Company as some allegedly owned by Bahati.
The process for compensation of affected companies has so far seen ten companies paid. They are Rubya Investments, Kibungo Entreprises, Aponye (U) Ltd, Afro Kai ltd, Swift commodities establishment ltd, Sunrise commodities, Sophie Omari, Apo General Agencies, Ropani International and KK Travelers.
Others that are pending payment include; Roko Construction Company, Ake-jo General enterprise, JB Traders, Odyek Ejang Company, Dott Services, Gunya company limited, Premier company, MFK company among others.