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Speaker Among Orders ‘ Value For Money’ Audit Into Roko Construction, Atiak Sugar Factory

The Speaker of Parliament Anita Among has ordered the Auditor General, John Muwanga (pictured) to conduct a value for money audit into the money Government has injected in both Atiak Sugar Factory and Roko Construction Company.

The Speaker called on the Auditor General to also direct his efforts towards auditing funds invested by Government through the Public-Private Partnership Projects that are expected to be audited annually as per section 31 of the Public-Private Partnership Act 2015.

“Of recent, we gave out money and bought shares in Roko Construction Company, we also bought shares in Atiak Sugar Factory. So we may need an audit of that money that has gone to those institutions so that we know how many shares do we have, what rights do we have, how is the corporate governance in such institutions and do we have any voting rights anyway? So we will need an audit into those institutions, but we will write to you and ask you what we want you to do,” Among said.

The Speaker made the directive while receiving reports from the Auditor General on the money spent on the fight against the deadly Covid-19 pandemic in Uganda.

The directive comes at the time reports emerged that Government recently spent Shs1.4Trn in supplementary within the 3% threshold that Government can spend without Parliamentary approval, gifting Atiak Sugar Factory Shs127Bn, Munyonyo Commonwealth Hotel Shs89Bn to Sudhir for construction of a conference hall,  Shs800Bn to Ministry of Defence and Shs135Bn classified expenditure of State House, after Parliament initially rejected approving these funds in the 2022/2023 national budget.

Atiak Sugar Factory is owned by Horyal Investments Holding Company that owns 60% shares, while Government through Uganda Development Corporation has 40% shares, however the majority shareholder is said to have invested only Shs120Bn, while Government has so far sunk in over Shs290bn, exclusive of the latest approval.

Uganda Development Corporation purchased 40% equity shares worth Shs81Bn and later extended another loan to Amina worth Shs20Bn; and through NAADS released Shs54.68 billion to support sugarcane out growers in Amuru and Lamwo districts in order to sustain sugar cane supply to the factory. Government also issued a transport subsidy worth Shs16Bn to transport sugarcane from Busoga to Atiak.

In July 2022, Parliament approved a request by the Ministry of Finance to bailout Roko Construction Company to a tune of Shs207.93Bn whose debts as at 31st May 2022, Roko’s debts were equivalent to Shs202.419Bn and the breakdown highlights US$35,716,989 and Shs20.713 concentrated in DFCU Bank (Shs49.45Bn, ABSA (Shs30.4bn and Bank of Baroda (Shs11.5Bn.

Roko Construction’s contingent liabilities from bank guarantees are to a tune of Shs130.903Bn issued on ongoing projects and these will be retired upon completion of the projects, while the debt to suppliers are to a tune of Shs46.767bn.

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