• Tue. Oct 3rd, 2023

UGANDA, Amuru | Real Muloodi News | The Clerk to Parliament is facing trouble as allegations surfaced on Tuesday 16th May 2023 that his office may have fraudulently altered the record of the House resolution to facilitate a government cash injection of USh108 billion to Atiak Sugar Factory.

Mr Muwanga Kivumbi, Member of Parliament for Butambala, accused the office of the clerk of distorting and misrepresenting a decision made by the House.

According to Mr Kivumbi, Mr Henry Yoweri Waiswa, the Deputy Clerk in charge of corporate affairs, changed a parliamentary resolution that rejected a supplementary budget request of USh108 billion for the Atiak Sugar project.

He claimed that the majority report recommended using the funds for the acquisition of equity shares, but the communication from the Office of the Clerk to the Ministry of Finance misrepresented the recommendation by stating that the money was approved for the purchase of equipment.

Mr Waiswa was acting on behalf of Mr Adolf Mwesige, the substantive Clerk to Parliament, at the time.

Mr Kivumbi and the Budget Committee chair, Mr Ignatius Wamakuyu Mudimi, both held the clerk’s office responsible for the discrepancies in the resolution.

They asserted that the office changed the resolution from acquiring equity to focusing on mechanisation.

Speaker Anita Among assured MPs that she would take administrative action in response to the issue.

MP Jonathan Odur raised concerns about the executive branch’s habit of either ignoring or manipulating parliamentary resolutions, which he deemed criminal and fraudulent.

He emphasised that a technical officer of Parliament should not have the power to communicate something different from what was approved by the House.

MP Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda called for clarification from the Attorney General on what the government paid for.

Mr Mathias Mpuuga, the Leader of the Opposition, expressed bewilderment over the government’s disproportionate investment in Atiak Sugar Factory compared to the majority shareholder.

The factory is a subsidiary of Horyal Investment Holding Company Limited (HIHC), reportedly owned by Ms Amina Moghe Hersi, a Kenyan entrepreneur of Somali descent.

Mr Mpuuga highlighted that the government had invested USh279 billion, while the majority shareholder had contributed only USh120 billion, yet the government held a 40 per cent stake while the majority shareholder had 60 per cent.

He called on the Attorney General to clarify how the USh108 billion was categorised.

Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka acknowledged that Parliament approved the acquisition of equity shares but stated that he was unsure about the specific details of the government’s payment.

He requested time for the executive branch to gather the necessary documentation to demonstrate compliance with the resolution.

Officials from the Ministry of Finance, as well as the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Cooperatives, were unavailable to explain the use of the funds.

Both Mr Mwesige and Mr Waiswa were also not available for comment.

Ms Hersi, the CEO of Atiak Sugar, did not respond to inquiries either.

Previously, she had stated that the government, not her, had requested the funds and therefore should be held accountable.

The Atiak Sugar Factory has faced numerous challenges from local politicians and residents in Acholi and within Parliament since its establishment.

The project encountered resistance from locals in Amuru District who refused to surrender their land for the factory.

The government resorted to force and divide-and-rule tactics to acquire the land, leading to accusations of a land grab by influential individuals in the government. Poor management issues have also plagued the project.

According to the Budget Committee, the government invested in HIHC, the parent company that owns the majority shares of Atiak Sugar Factory, through an equity acquisition of 40 per cent for USh80 billion and a shareholder’s loan worth USh20.5 billion.

The committee noted that the factory, which commenced operations in October 2020, encountered immediate challenges due to a fragmented approach to planning and implementation, and it is currently not operational.


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