The chairman of COSESA, Abdu Katuntu has today revealed that the Chinese Constructors have refunded she’s 26.3bn leaving a balance of 9.2bn shillings. He said that It is only China Railway No.3 which has not remitted the money which he said they had directed UNRA to hold on its bank guarantee.
The money is part of Ugx 47 billion shillings advanced to the companies by UNRA to compensate individuals affected by project constructions however the companies are reported to have put the money in fixed accounts to accrue interest.
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 included 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.
According to documents tabled by the committee, Chongqing International Construction Corporation Shillings refunded Ugx 3.5 billion; Zhongmei Engineering Group Limited refunded Ugx 272.7 million; China Railway 18th Group Limited refunded Ugx 14 billion while China Railway Group No. 5 refunded Ugx 8.4 billion.
The Parliament’s Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase) had directed the three companies to return the balances as well as the interest earned from fixed deposits to UNRA.
“I am happy to report that we have recovered all the money from Chinese contractors” said Abdu Katuntu. He thanked the banks for their cooperation in recovering money from the Chinese contractors.
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.
“We want to assure the Projects affected Persons that soon they will receive their money” Katuntu said. He however lamented that the delay in compensating has affected the country because the value of the properties has gone up.
“It’s annoying to give money to Chinese who don’t understand local languages. Itdoesn’t make legal & common sense”, Katuntu said.
He went on to say that the role of the committee is to name and shame those that engage in fraud and recover the money. “We are not a prosecuting agency”, he said.
He further said that the committee is to recommend to Parliament to direct Govt to review the relationship between UNRA and these contractors.