Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development has been named for allegedly including ghost traders to benefit from $42m (over Shs150bn) South Sudan compensation scheme.
On March 22, 2016, President Yoweri Museveni directed the Ministry of Finance in a letter to establish how government would raise money to rescue Ugandan businessmen, who were stuck in the civil unrest in Juba that saw them lose their goods worth billions of shillings.
However, during a meeting held between MPs on the Committee of Trade and Tourism together with officials from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Corporative to discuss the latter’s Budget Framework Paper for FY 2018/19, Amelia Kyambadde, Trade Minister revealed that there are suspicions that the list containing names of the beneficiaries is not the same list that Finance ministry has, thus saying it could have been altered.
“The Ministry of Trade came up with a verification list that was submitted to the Ministry of Finance and Foreign Affairs as per their request, but we were shocked to find some names missing and were replaced with non-traders,” Kyambadde said.
She added, “The President came up with that directive and David Bahati, State Minister for Planning said the Ministry of Finance is going to pay, but there was also a problem of manipulation of that list which I don’t want to go into here and it was manipulated from that end, so if they are going to pay, we also have to make sure that we have the same list.”
As a result, the committee members led by Alex Ruhunda (Fort Portal Municipality) and Godfrey Macho (Busia Municipality) demanded that the list of the said beneficiaries should be made public to identify the source of the alteration.
“The information I have is that Ministry of Finance has smuggled some traders who aren’t supposed to be on that list and I hear they are for politicians,” Macho said.
“As a Committee, we must know the interest before because we have talked many times that there are some smuggled companies that haven’t been doing business in South Sudan that is why Ministry of Finance isn’t straight on that matter.”
The committee resolved to hold a joint meeting with the two ministries on Tuesday next week to discuss the matter.