Uganda’s Parliament agrees to clear $41 million South Sudan debt

Ugandan Parliament. Photo: AP

Kampala/Juba, April 3, 2018 (SSNA) — A Ugandan Parliamentary Committee on National Economy has recommended that the Ugandan government pays Ugandan companies $41 million (approx. 151 billion Uganda Shillings) after South Sudanese government failed to repay back the money it owes to the companies.

According to text, the parliamentary committee says there is no other option to settle the dispute and recommended Kampala pays the companies and then collected the money from Juba in the form of reimbursement.

Uganda says between 2008-2010, the companies provided maize and sorghum to all 10 South Sudan’s states under what it described as the “Strategic Grain Reserves Suppliers” and that the deal’s original worth was $56 million (approx. 206 billion Uganda Shillings).

The names of corporations to be repaid are Apo General Enterprises ($3.2m), Afro Kai Ltd ($2m), Rubya Investments Limited ($2.4m), Aponye (U) Limited ($13m), Swift Commodities Establishment Ltd ($811,345.99), Sunrise Commodities Ltd ($928,991.16), Ms Sophie Omari ($802,26.15), Ropani International ($3.2m), K.K Transporters ($4.8m), and Kibungo Enterprises ($9.7m).

In January 2013, the South Sudan News Agency (SSNA) obtained a text which showed documents and 81 South Sudanese companies involved in maize and sorghum corruption.

It is not clear what prompts Kampala to help Juba in a repayment plan. However, a former Ugandan intelligent officer who was assigned to South Sudan before his resignation in 2013 told the SSNA that the entire maize and sorghum operation is one of the main reasons why Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni backs South Sudanese President Salva Kiir. He claimed that the deal was a Ugandan project and that all companies involved in maize and sorghum distribution in South Sudan are government-controlled or have strong ties to Uganda’s government.

“These companies are government babies. I can tell you that most of these corporations are 100% run by government’s agents,” James Moises told the South Sudan News Agency in Kampala.

The former spy officer also accused South Sudan’s government of running bogus companies to illicit money from the maize and sorghum deal.

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