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Court okays verification of South Sudan traders

FILE PHOTO: Ministry of Finance PS, Keith Muhakanizi

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The High Court in Kampala has allowed the verification of 154 companies who lost property during the insurgency in South Sudan in 2013.

Justice Dr. Andrew Bashaija of the Civil Division of High Court on Thursday ordered the verification of the companies on grounds that the companies would be affected if they are not verified.

Last month, Bashaija ordered the verification exercise be halted.

The one-month verification exercise had earlier been announced by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, Keith Muhakanizi.

However, in July 2019, ten companies which had been verified and partly compensated petitioned court challenging the fresh verification exercise.

But 154 companies later petitioned court asking to revise his orders arguing that they had not been part of the court proceedings which resulted into the order and also demanded that they should be verified.

Some of these companies include Gunya Company Limited, Roko Construction Limited, Quality Chemicals, Acanadiro Transporters, Delight Engineering, Dott Services, and Speke Construction among others.

The companies through their lawyers, Kwesigabo, Bamwine, and Walubiri Advocates also added that they were aggrieved by the blanket order stopping the verification of their supplies in South Sudan because they learned about the order from the media.

They thus had to file a civil suit against Uganda Southern Sudan Grain Traders and Suppliers Limited, The Secretary to Treasury Ministry of Finance Economic Planning and Development and the Attorney General of Uganda.

In May 2019, the Parliament approved 900 billion shillings to pay traders who lost property in the South Sudan war.

The South Sudan government has since decided to compensate the traders but however opted to refer to the said compensation as a loan to the government of Uganda following a bilateral agreement of the states.

According to the agreement, Uganda will be paying back within five to 10 years with a six percent interest rate after the first year.

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