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Rice Importers Criticize Parliament’s Investigation Report On Rice Trade

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Rice importers have criticized a report made by the MPs on Trade for failure to include their submission in the main report.

In a press statement, the importers under their umbrella organization RADFO noted that despite providing the Committee with all the documentation, their views were not included in the main report.

“Our concern, therefore, is after providing the committee with all the documented evidence and facts of our daily operation and resolutions that determined what transpired as association operates, the committee published a report that seemed to be biased targeting individuals,” a statement signed by the Company general secretary, Moses Sekandi, said.

Sekandi said it was unfortunate that despite all the documented information that we presented to the committee stating the legality, daily operation at Mutukula at the time, working mechanism and the financial remittances that rose out of resolution, the committee instead omitted most of the factual information that has defined the report as biased.

Why the money remitted was never kept in the bank, Sekandi said members agreed to keep their money at the office and always to be available wherever it was needed, since it was a daily remittance which couldn’t be transported from Mutukula to Kyotera, a distance of 20 kilometres daily to access banks.

He denied knowledge of the sh17b the Committee recommended that they should refund for reportedly receiving illegally from the traders.

“The committee recommends that we (RADFO) refund sh17b which we have no knowledge of as RADFO, we can only account for what we received. We submitted our daily transaction to the committee and how that money remitted was signed out by our members. Unfortunately, the committee didn’t mention how members shared equally the remitted money yet we provided them all the documents,” Sekandi said.

In a report to Parliament, Committee chairperson Mpaka Mwine recommended that the Minister of trade, Harriet Ntabazi be sacked for reportedly interfering in the trade of rice.

“The committee recommends that civil action be instituted against RADFO to obtain compensation amounting to sh17.8b which was illegally, unlawfully, illegitimately, dishonestly, fraudulently and unpatriotically collected from the traders,” Mpaka said.

However, Ntabazi said she only intervened to bring sanity as only a few importers wanted to control the sector.

The minister also said every decision she made came as a result of directives from the President and following meetings with key stakeholders.

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