Teso Fruit Factory on Spot.
The parliamentary committee of trade has directed Tropical Fruit Cooperative Union LTD a shareholder in Teso Fruit Factory to return 48m shillings which they extorted from Fruit Farmers in Teso give them spray pumps which were bought by the government. The committee established that the corporative Union sold spray pumps to its members yet the government had bought them for farmers.
The committee has also grilled officials of Uganda Development Corporation and Teso Fruit Factory on allegations that they spent an exorbitant amount of 5.5bn shillings to construct a one-kilometer road connecting a factory to the main road and 2.2bn for a perimeter wall.
The government of Uganda bought 240 motorized spray pumps for fruit growers in Teso subregion in a bid to build their capacity to supply Teso Fruit Factory with fruits. But the parliamentary committee of trade has learned today that the farmer’s Cooperative known as Tropical Fruit Co-operative Union LTD which was given pumps to distribute them, instead sold them to farmers at 200,000 shillings each.
Although the Co-operative chairperson Jorem Opian pleaded guilty and asked for a pardon, The committee directed them to refund the 48m shillings which they extorted from farmers to give them spray pumps.
Committee members irked at UDC on discovering that the pumps in question were purchased at an inflated price of 2.2 million shillings each contrary to their market price of 700,000shilings. The committee chairperson Mwine Mpaka has called the auditor general to audit the cost of the spray pumps.
To make matters worse, the Co-operative chairperson Opian testified to the committee that the expensive pumps only worked for less than a month and got spoilt which annoyed MPs.
The committee also grilled officials of Uganda Development Co operation and Soroti Fruit Factory on allegations that they constructed a one-kilometer tarmac road at an exorbitant cost of 5.5bn and a perimeter wall at 2.5bn.
The Soroti Fruit Factory has also been pushed on the wall to explain why they rejected to buy fruits produced in Teso and go on to import them from Kenya, Tanzania, and other distant areas in Uganda, yet the factory was established strategically to support area fruit farmers.
The government of Uganda through, Uganda Development Corporation owns 80% of shares in Teso Fruit Factory while the 20% are owned by Tropical Fruits Cooperative Union.