IGG Investigates Corruption, Extortion in Tororo Phosphates Project

7124 Views Tororo, Eastern Region, Uganda

In short
The Project is a joint venture between the government of Uganda and a Chinese company Guangzhou Dongsong Energy group to see the implementation of the long awaited US$560m Osukuru Phosphates project in Tororo district in Eastern Uganda. It will prospect for Base metals, phosphates, rare earth elements-REE and Uranium on the 26sqkm in sukulu hills in Tororo District over a period of three years.

The Inspectorate of Government has launched investigations into allegations of Corruption, bribery and extortion surrounding the Osukuru phosphate project in Tororo district.

The Project is a joint venture between the government of Uganda and a Chinese company Guangzhou Dongsong Energy group to see the implementation of the long awaited US$560m Osukuru Phosphates project in Tororo district in Eastern Uganda.  It will prospect for Base metals, phosphates, rare earth elements-REE and Uranium on the 26sqkm in sukulu hills in Tororo District over a period of three years.

Under the Project, the Chinese company will utilize the Tororo Phosphate reserve to produce 300,000 tons of phosphates fertilizers, 300,000 tons of steel and 2million tons of residual soil. They will also establish of a sulfuric acid plant with a capacity of 200,000 tons annually and also build a 5MW power plant in the area.

However, residents from the exploration area have reportedly lodged by claiming that some district leaders have connived with brokers to extort money to a tune of US $ 1.5 million under the pretext of helping them hasten the project implementation.

Attorney General Peter Nyombi says the complaints featured significantly in a meeting between Chinese investors and President Yoweri Museveni on Friday.  The meeting resolved to send a team of leaders to the mining area to substantiate the claims. They also decided that the IGG jointly takes up the matter with the help of the Police Force.

Police Chief Gen Kale Kayihura reiterated the development during a meeting with residents affected by the exploration, the project implementers -Guangzhou Dongsong Energy group, and district authorities.

Also in presence were the Attorney General Peter Nyombi, Energy Minister Irene Muloni, state minister for mineral development Peter Lokeris, and the Permanent secretary of the Ministry of Energy Kabagambe Kalisa

 “I have heard what has been going on here and I request you together with the investors to single out such people for appropriate action including a refund of the money they have eaten so that the project could proceed as fast as possible” Kayihura stated.

Gen. Kayihura emphasized that all individuals involved in the dubious acts of extortion, corruption and bribery will be brought to book.

Irene Muloni, the Energy Minister revealed that government has set up a standing committee that will oversee the entire process until the mining project kicks off in August this year.

Muloni said they have also resolved as a team to meet after every two weeks to monitor the progress of the project.  The meetings will introduce and interface with the committee, assess the progress of the survey and all complaints before reviewing the preparedness of the District land board in fast tracking the residents move to access their land titles.

The Minister revealed that IGG and the Police have already kick started investigations into claims of bribery and extortion that have been going on in the area for possible action against those involved.

Muloni however appealed to the residents to support the investment wholeheartedly while clarifying that the UGX 1 million they are supposed to get from the investors as an appreciation does not cover part of their compensation.

She told the residents that the resettlement action plan and Environmental impact assessment will follow immediately after the survey and evaluation while directing them to negotiate directly with the investors instead o f using the middle men because the law allows them to do so.

A total of 12,000 people from the 14 villages of Osukuru and Rubongi sub counties are affected by the exercise.