The State Minister for Finance in charge of Planning, David Bahati has denied owning a company that benefitted from compensation over loss of business in South Sudan.
Bahati was on Wednesday appearing before Parliament’s Select Committee that is currently inquiring into a payment of 40 billion Shillings to 10 Ugandan Companies that supplied goods to South Sudan.
He told the committee that even if he owned a company in South Sudan, he wouldn’t accept to be part of the on-going compensation process.
“So I would really request madam Chair that those who are crying for me should leave me,” said Bahati.
The payment is part of a request by the government through the Finance Ministry for parliamentary approval, to clear a debt of 151 billion Shillings owed to Ugandan traders and companies by the South Sudan government. The traders supplied goods and services from 2008 but were never paid following a conflict that started in 2013.
The statements by Bahati followed questions by the Select Committee Chairperson Ann Maria Nankabirwa in which she said that her committee had received information alleging that Bahati’s companies were part of those defrauded in South Sudan and are in a process of being compensated.
She named some of the companies allegedly owned by Bahati as M/S Kaimat Enterprises, M/S Jan Jang Company Limited and M/S Nile Site Company.
Nankabirwa then thought Bahati’s response to the claims that were presented in writing before her committee.
However, Bahati maintained that he never transacted any business in South Sudan.
Accusations against Bahati’s involvement in the compensation process date back to 2016 when a section of traders accused him of using his position to lobby for the compensation of certain companies and individuals.
Patrick Ntege Walusimbi, the Chairperson Uganda Traders Association of South Sudan (UTASS) then told the Parliament’s Tourism and Trade Committee that Bahati was among those listed as individuals for compensation during the first verification exercise and they were scared that he was to use his position to receive compensation before other companies.
The process for compensation of affected companies has so far seen ten companies paid. They are 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 Travelers.
Others that are pending payment include; Roko Construction Company, Ake-jo General enterprise, JB Traders, Odyek Ejang Company, Dott Services, Gunya company limited, Premier company, MFK company among others.