Parliament Select Committee investigating the payment of 40
billion Shillings to 10 Ugandan companies who supplied goods to South Sudan has
quizzed officials from the Finance Ministry.
Patrick Ocailap, the Deputy Secretary to the Treasury and Accountant General,
Lawrence Ssemakula on Tuesday appeared before the Select Committee chaired by
Kyankwanzi Woman MP Ann Maria Nankabirwa to answer queries concerning the
The ten companies paid include; 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
Some of the companies that were not included on the list include; Roko
Construction Company, Ake-jo General enterprise, JB Traders, Odyek Ejang
Company, Dott Services, Gunya company limited, Premier company, MFK company
In 2016, the Government of South Sudan entered into a bilateral
agreement with the Government of Uganda concerning monies owed to Uganda-South
Sudan traders by the Republic of South Sudan.
It was agreed that Uganda pays the outstanding 42.6 billion
shillings to the Uganda-South Sudan grain traders and the South Sudan to refund
the money to Uganda in addition of issuance of a sovereign guarantee by South
Sudan to secure the payment. South Sudan indicated the individual companies to
be paid in the agreement and it further stipulated how to handle unverified
The bilateral agreement between South Sudan and Uganda was subsequently
approved by parliament on 3rd April 2018 and 40 billion shillings was
appropriated in the Financial Year 2018/2019 budget for its implementation.
It’s on this basis that the Ministry paid out 40 billion shillings to the grain
traders leaving an outstanding balance of 1 billion shillings
Ocailap told MPs that the Minister of Finance, Matia Kasaija had
already asked the Auditor General, John Muwanga to conduct a special audit into
the payment made to the ten companies. However,
the MPs raised questions on why the Ministry only considered the intervention
of the Auditor General after payments had been made.
Masaka Municipality MP Mathias Mpuuga asked the Finance
officials to explain why they paid only ten traders yet the Ministry of Trade
list had 23 verified companies.
Accountant General Lawrence Ssemakula explained that the list was
compressed since it had the same companies repeated.
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Asked if Finance Ministry had appointed an officer on the Joint
Verification Committee, Ocailap said he was not aware if they were represented
something that raised more questions.
Mpuuga questioned whether Finance is in possession of any report
from the joint verification committee and on what grounds the companies paid
Ocailap asked for more time to cross check if the report existed
arguing that he had not seen it.
Finance on what risk Uganda taxpayers
stand if South Sudan goes ahead to constitute a unitary government and whether
it may have an effect on the bilateral agreement.
But Ocailap said that the guarantee given by the Republic of South
Sudan is binding even when they form a unitary government.
The Minister of Finance is expected to appear before the Select
Committee on Wednesday concerning the payments to traders.