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Igara Tea Farmers Want Board Out

On Friday, the farmers appointed a select committee to investigate into the alleged financial loss.
Tea farmers under Igara Tea factory in Bushenyi are up in arms against the Arthur Babu Muguzi led board of directors over financial impropriety. It follows an audit report issued over the weekend indicating that, UGX 26 billion went missing from Igara Tea factory from 2006 to 2012.

The financial report, which was compiled by Ernest and Young, also shows that, Igara Tea factory has debts amounting to over UGX 10 Billion in different banks that ought to be cleared immediately. Now, the farmers want the current of directors disbanded and the implicated officials asked to refund all the missing money.

On Friday, the farmers appointed a select committee to investigate into the alleged financial loss. Igara tea factory started in the 1970's and is currently comprised of more 7000 farmers from Bushenyi, Mitooma Buhweju and Rubirizi districts.  Prof Tarsis Kabwegyere, one of the prominent farmers under Igara tea factory says there is no way the select committee will carry out its work when the implicated directors are still in office.

He wants the directors to step aside to allow the committee to carry out its work without interference. Paul Kahiigi Turyamureeba, another farmer attributes the losses to the exorbitant expenditure by the board and other auxiliary committees. Ephraim Biraaro, the Buhweju county MP and former Igara Tea factory Board chairperson says unless the current board is disbanded the factory is likely to remain in losses.

Arthur Babu Muguzi, the incumbent board chairperson has rejected calls to step aside saying the investigators will take advantage of their absence from office to implicate them. Last month, Muguzi told farmers that they had laid off more than 250 employees due to low production adding that, the factory could no longer meet the costs.

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