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    Coffee Deal Is A Waste If Ugandan Stakeholders Are Not Involved – Former Coffee Marketing Board Boss Warns On ‘Poisonous’ Coffee Agreement…

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    Ambassador Wasswa Birigwa

    Former Manager for Uganda Coffee Marketing Board, Ambassador Wasswa Birigwa has trashed the controversial coffee deal between Ministry of Finance and Uganda Vinci Coffee Company (UVCC).

    Ambassador Birigwa was Uganda’s former ambassador to Ethiopia and Japan and was also one a former Chief Executive and founder of Celtel Uganda.

    In an interview with theGrapevine, Ambassador Birigwa said that Government should involve stakeholders in the signing of the coffee deal and if the intention is to establish a manufacturing facility to add value on coffee, then Ugandans should be given a chance.

    “Involve stakeholders, sit down (with them), and if the intention is to establish a manufacturing facility for value addition to our coffee, everyone supports it, but involve Ugandans,” he said.

    Mr. Birigwa told theGrapevine that he got a copy of the coffee deal but after reading through it, he concluded that the intentions of the deal are not good.

    He advised government to cancel the deal, go back to the drawing board and make sure they involve all stakeholders from the onset.

    “I think it is a non-starter because you cannot really force the farmers to sell their coffee to one particular person. At the end of the day, that person will set a price (which might be low) and the farmer will look for a better price that he cannot get,” he explained.

    He further disclosed that such a deal if left unchallenged will result into a monopoly.

    Once people realise that they cannot get the right price from the monopoly, they will look for alternative ways and at the end of the day, government will not have the revenue that they projected.

    Mr. Birigwa disclosed, “Coffee is not an easy thing, so if Uganda’s intention is to have value addition to its coffee, then there are many people who are capable within Uganda who can even join hands with the government and establish a factory that produces red coffee.

    “To have good coffee, you need to be very careful with (the kind of coffee you are choosing) and how you mix it. Coffee is not simply one cup of robusta. Coffee is made up of several things. And so, Ugandans should be working in terms of what is the brand, what is so special about Ugandan coffee and once we have that branded correctly, then we can be able to sell it internationally.

    “But the amount of money Uganda is giving to whoever is going to start this thing, the tax incentives that were given to UVCC are so ridiculous. Give it to Ugandans.”

    “This is a nation that has been independent for 60 years, you mean all these years we don’t have Ugandans who can do this?” he asked.

    He furthermore divulged that if at all they had consulted major stakeholders in the industry, they should never have made such a huge mistake of signing the current questionable deal.

    He stressed that at the end of the day, the coffee deal will seem as though it is targeting Buganda and Eastern Bugisu because majority of the people who grow coffee happen to be in Buganda and Eastern Bugisu.

    “Until they convince stakeholders to be part of it, and find a better way of going into a joint venture of some sort by involving Ugandans, it is a bad deal and government should re-value it.”

    Whereas several questions have been raised about the foreign investor behind the Uganda Vinci Coffee Company Ltd, Mr. Birigwa told theGrapevine that she is a businesswoman who is looking for profit and taking advantage of people who are gullible.

    “That is how business is. She is not here for charity. She saw people who are gullible and decided to take advantage of them,” he said.

    Finance Minister Matia Kasaija (L) and Italian investor Enrica Pinetti (R) after the signing of the coffee agreement

    DETAILS IN THE COFFEE DEAL.

    It should be recalled that the suspected “owner”, an Italian investor, Ms. Enrica Pinetti signed the multibillion contract as a witness as the owner.

    The deal signed between the Finance Ministry and UVCC in February prohibits other investors from buying the country’s harvest until the company gets the quota they want.

    According to the February 2022 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), the agreement was signed by Finance Minister Matia Kasaija on behalf of government, in the presence of Ramathan Ggoobi, the Permanent Secretary of the Finance Ministry and Pinetti while the space for the company owner was left blank.

    The MOU further revealed that UVCC is a limited liability company that is fully registered with its office located at Plot 2, Summit View, Kololo in Kampala and the coffee processing facility is expected to have a capacity of 60,000-tonne per annum.

    While the government is undertaking the role to inject money in the deal to its end in 2032, the company will have exclusive rights to buy all of Uganda’s coffee and will be exempted from paying taxes among which include; income tax, pay As You Earn, Excise Duty, Stamp Duty, VAT, Import Duty, and corporate income tax.

     

    By: Hope Kalamira

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    CRIME

    Be Forward Company Directors On Run Over Fraud; Clients Cry Foul After Losing Billions…

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    Be Forward company Managing Director in hot soup over fraud.

    Police in Jinja has in custody the managing director, Caroline Nampeera and her accountant, Annet Nagawa of Be Forward company, a Japanese car importer over fraud.

    This comes after a number of customers decided to ambush the company after losing billions of money to the company.

    Steve Manyire, a client who reported the issue that he has lost over Shs.250 million.

    Manyire noted that he paid money for two trucks and a Range Rover that he says have not been delivered by the company.

    “They have received almost a million US Dollars but none of the people who are complaining has received their cars,” he revealed.

    Manyire insisted that this is an organised fraud and advised would be customers not to pay their money.

    Kampala Metropolitan Police Spokesperson Patrick Onyango however confirmed the arrest of the two people adding that the directors are currently on the run.

    “The three directors are currently on the run, we are looking for them. We are currently investigating a case of obtaining money by false pretence,” Onyango said.

    He revealed that Mr.Nkeera, one of the directors is said to hiding in the United States while others are on a run.

     

    By Kalamira Hope

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    Embattled NOTU Boss Owere Claims He Was Fired By Drunkards; Petitions Court To Force Him Back In Office…

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    Wilson Owere (L) and Peter Werikhe (R)

    Embattled chairman of the National Organisation of Trade Unions (NOTU), Usher Wilson Owere claims that he was impeached by drunkards who acted illegally without following the organisation’s constitution.

    Speaking to theGrapevine, Owere accuses former NOTU Secretary General Peter Werikhe of facilitating the buying of alcohol and drugs to influence the minds and intelligence of the delegates who committed illegalities.

    He insists that the reason why Werikhe was panicking and fighting to make sure that he is forced out of office is because he knew that he (Owere) had all the evidence implicating him in corruption practices.

    On Tuesday, NOTU delegates passed a resolution to impeach Owere on grounds of incompetence, dictatorship and intrigue.

    Owere was replaced with Stephen Mugole in acting capacity. Mugole has been Owere’s vice chairperson.

    Richard Bigirwa was voted as the acting Secretary General and Moses Mauku was voted as the acting treasurer.

    However, Owere insists that whatever was done was illegal because it was done against a Court order stopping the process.

    “Let them laugh at me but I am telling you, very soon, they are going to face the long arm of the law on charges of contempt of court orders. They are even going to compensate me for humiliating me to the extent of directing security guards to block me from accessing my offices, I am going to become a rich man,” Owere said.

    When contacted, Werikhe rubbished Owere’s allegations and asked him to admit that he was legally impeached and the more he becomes defiant, the more he will humiliate himself.

    “He is talking of a Court Order, who did he serve? He slept with it in his bed with his wife thinking that it is love material. We are also ready for the legal battles,” Werikhe said.

    He explained that if Owere claims that he has mishandled the organisation’s funds, he is also a suspect because they have both been signatories when it came to withdrawing funds.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    MY MONEY

    Lawyer Speaks Out On Why Owino Market Land Is To Be Auctioned Within 30 Days Over Shs.2bn…

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    Part of Owino market

    DFCU bank through their lawyers of KTA Advocates has given members of the St. Balikuddembe Market Stalls and Lock Up Shops Owners Association (SSLOA) 30 days to clear a debt of Shs.2bn or lose their land through auctioning.

    Edwin Tabaro, a senior lawyer at KTA Advocates revealed to theGrapevine that their instructions is to recover their client’s money by all means including auctioning the land situated at Kibuga Block 12, Plot 388 Mengo Kisenyi measuring one and half acres.

    “For eight years now, SSLOA hasn’t made any payment and we were instructed to auction the said land,” Tabaro said.

    He explained that in 2010, SSLOA obtained a Shs.4bn loan from DFCU bank to pay premium and ground rent for the subleased land on which the main market sits and they used the Kisenyi land title as security to secure a loan.

    Sources at KCCA told theGrapevine that SSLOA’s troubles started when they secured a loan and KCCA declined to hand over leases to the market land which resulted in Court battles.

    In 2018, High Court judge Musa Ssekaana ordered KCCA to compensate SSLOA with the Shs1.15bn, Shs.500m legal fees and Shs4.8bn as special damages but KCCA only paid Shs.2bn which SSLOA paid to the bank.

    Sources said that since then, SSLOA has been on KCCA’s neck seeking for their payment but they don’t have the said money and they have learnt that they are going back to Court to secure their payments and clear the bank loan.

    President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni directed SSLOA leadership with immediate effect to vacate Owino market leadership and hand it over to KCCA.

    KCCA is in the process of organising fresh elections in Owino market for the vendors to vote their leaders as Museveni directed.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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