Parliament Committee Wants Probe Into Chinese Company Over Illegal Sand Mining
Parliament’s committee on Natural Resources has demanded for a probe into the activities of a private Chinese company.
The company, Mango Tree Group Limited is on the spot over illegal sand mining activities on the shores of Lake Victoria in Kawuku in Wakiso district over illegal sand mining activities.
The committee recently visited the sites, to establish reports of illegal sand mining by the Mango Tree Group Company, which was initially granted a license by Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) to build ships, a port and ship yard. The legislators, led by Isingiro South MP, Alex Byarugaba, also committee chairman, wondered how the company has been illegally mining sand for a year without being stopped by UIA and environmental watchdog, National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA).
The committee learnt that former Minister of Water and Environment, Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu and NEMA had written separate letters to the directors of Mango Tree, barring it from engaging in any illegal sand mining activities but this was ignored.
During an interface with the UIA officials, led by UIA Director, Ajer Basil on October 12, 2016, a number of MPs were angered that there was no clear monitoring of activities of investors engaged in illegal activities. Mr. Ajer, in response, admitted that the authority is grappling with its monitoring role. He revealed that
During the meeting, UIA Director Basil Ajer explained that the authority gave a license to the company in question and would conduct investigations over their activities. Ajer however explained to the committee that out of the over 5000 investments licensed in the country, UIA cannot monitor three quarters of them due to lack of adequate resources and manpower.
He however promised to investigate the company’s activities and report back within two weeks.