News & Up­dates:

Parliament has given the Minister for Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Francis Mwebesa, two weeks to investigate and report back to the House concerns raised by MP over mismanagement of Soroti fruit factory.

In a Plenary sitting chaired by Deputy Speaker Anita Among on February 8, 2022, Soroti West Division MP, Jonathan Ebwalu asked the Government to carry out a forensic audit into the mismanagement of the Soroti Fruit Factory.

He accused the managers of the factory and the Uganda Development Cooperation (UDC) of running the factory as a personal business. He called on Government to take charge of the factory before its run down by the poor management.

Listing instances of mismanagement, Ebwalu accused the management of spending a total of Sh2.5 billion and Sh5.5 billion to build a perimeter wall around the factory and road, making it the most expensive perimeter wall and one-kilometer road in the world.

He accused the factory management and UDC of buying fruits from neighboring countries like Kenya, Tanzania and Congo and frustrating the local farmers in the area.

“Even the pumps that had been donated by the Government free of charge were sold to the farmers at Shs200, 000 each losing the purpose in which Government intended by setting up the factory,” Ebwalu said.

He also accused the factory management of hiring and firing workers of the factory at will. He was concerned that there were no clear procedures being followed to have workers hired or fired.

“We need to do a forensic audit of these two organizations so that the Ugandans can gain from this factory,” he added.

In response, the Government Chief Whip, Thomas Tayebwa requested that the Minister of Trade be given two weeks to investigate the allegations and report back to the House. He said that allegations were grave and exhibited a high level of mismanagement and incompetence of the top managers of these two companies.

Among who chaired the Plenary session expressed her disappointment with the manner Soroti Fruit Factory was being managed.

“Soroti fruit factory wasn’t worth being there. We have spent a lot of money on that factory but the output is zero. I hereby ask the Minister of Trade and the Parliamentary Committee of Trade to carry out individual audits and we shall debate them together next week,” Among said.