The Par­lia­men­tary Se­lect Com­mit­tee that is in­ter­ro­gat­ing the com­pen­sa­tion of Ugan­dan traders who sup­plied goods and ser­vices to South Su­dan, was on Wednes­day 3rd April meet­ing with the In­ter­nal Se­cu­rity Or­gan­i­sa­tion (ISO) at Par­lia­ment. The team was led by Mwe­si­gye Dan who is the for­mer Di­rec­tor of Fi­nance ISO, and Pius Alitema was mak­ing a pre­sen­ta­tion on the mat­ter. ISO says it was con­tracted by Min­istry of Fi­nance, Plan­ning and Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment to ver­ify the 132 com­pa­nies and in­di­vid­u­als.

Pius Alitema said that in their find­ings, only a to­tal of 10 com­pa­nies and in­di­vid­u­als had been cov­ered and ver­i­fied by a joint com­mit­tee from Uganda and the South Su­dan gov­ern­ment. These were; Rubya In­vest­ments, Ki­bungo En­ter­prise, Aponye Uganda Lim­ited, Afro Kai Lim­ited, Swift Com­modi­ties, Sun­rise Com­modi­ties, Ms Sophi Omari, Apo Gen­eral Agen­cies, Ropani In­ter­na­tional and KK Trans­porters.

The re­port also stated that the ma­jor­ity of these 132 com­pa­nies and in­di­vid­u­als had doc­u­ments and that only a few lacked proper doc­u­men­ta­tion to sub­stan­ti­ate their claims. How­ever, there was no con­crete ev­i­dence to show if some of these com­pa­nies were con­tracted to sup­ply de­part­ments of the South Su­danese gov­ern­ment or in­di­vid­u­als and pri­vate en­ti­ties.

The ISO also noted that as per files and state­ment of ver­i­fi­ca­tions, some of the 10 com­pa­nies had been paid half the money when the Mem­o­ran­dum of Un­der­stand­ing and Bi­lat­eral Agree­ments be­tween the two gov­ern­ments were signed. The gov­ern­ment of Uganda had also rec­om­mended that South Su­dan pay the rest of the money.

When asked by the com­mit­tee if they had cor­re­sponded with the South Su­dan gov­ern­ment in their re­view and in­ter­ro­ga­tions, the ISO re­sponded that their Terms of Ref­er­ence (ToR) did not per­mit them to. How­ever, they elab­o­rated that in their rec­om­men­da­tions to their con­trac­tor, they sug­gested that a joint com­mit­tee is formed to fur­ther re­view and in­ter­ro­gate the com­pen­sa­tion claims.

The com­mit­tee chaired by the Kyankwanzi Dis­trict Woman MP, Ann Maria Nankabirwa, then re­quested that a copy of the ToR be availed to them to un­der­stand ISO’s scope of work. To their dis­ap­point­ment, the team from ISO did not have it with them and promised to have it sent to them as soon as pos­si­ble.

The Masaka Mu­nic­i­pal­ity MP, Hon Math­ias Mpu­uga com­mended the ef­forts by ISO to look into this but said that the PSST (Min­istry of Fi­nance) gave them a job that is not doable. He ri­posted on what ISO that they were not pro­vided with all the doc­u­ments by the PSST and said this should have been an in­di­ca­tor that this was out­side their man­date.

The team from ISO could not an­swer ques­tions such as how much gov­ern­ment spent on them to con­duct this re­view, the ac­tual size of the team that did the re­view and how long the re­view and ver­i­fi­ca­tion process took. This com­pelled the com­mit­tee to end the meet­ing un­til ISO pre­pares a more elab­o­rate and fac­tual pre­sen­ta­tion that is not based on as­sump­tions.

The Se­lect Com­mit­tee is cur­rently in­quir­ing into a pay­ment of Shs 40 bil­lion to 10 Ugan­dan com­pa­nies that sup­plied goods to South Su­dan and were sup­posed to also meet Hon. Kahinda Otafi­ire who did not show up.