MPs make Chinese firms refund Shs26bn stolen from Ugandans


The Parliamentary Committee on Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) has recovered Shs26 billion from Chinese companies that had pocketed it.

The money is part of Shs47 billion initially given to five Chinese contractors as money meant to compensate Ugandans affected by road projects.

Instead, the firms banked it in Chinese banks. The committee is led by MP Katuntu.

According to MP Hassan Fungaroo, the committee managed to pull this off because of the strong laws that back it.

“The committee is as powerful as a court,” he said.

It was revealed early this week that three Chinese road construction companies earned Shs1.5b in interest by keeping in fixed deposit accounts money they were meant to pass onto road Project Affected Persons (PAPs) in different parts of Uganda.

The three companies paid out to some PAPs only Shs13.5 billion of the Shs27.8b that the Uganda National Roads Authority (Unra) advanced them in 2015.

The three companies: China Railway 18th Bureau Company Ltd, China Railway No. 5 Engineering Group Co. U Ltd, and Zhongmei Engineering Group Ltd, are part of five firms that UNRA advanced Shs27.8b in 2015 to compensate PAPs in Mayuge, Bugiri, Busia, Gulu and Ssembabule districts.

The firms maintain they did not compensate many other PAPs because UNRA was yet to “instruct” them to compensate the remaining PAPs as it did when they paid out the Shs15.2b.

COSASE directed the three companies to return the balances as well as the interest earned from fixed deposits to UNRA.

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