The government of South Sudan has expressed reservations about the claims of compensation by Ugandan traders citing connivance between government officials in Kampala and Juba.
This was revealed by Uganda’s Ambassador to South Sudan, Ronald Balya while meeting legislators on the Select Committee investigating compensation of Ugandan traders who supplied goods to South Sudan.
The meeting took place at Uganda’s Mission in Juba on Wednesday, 01 May 2019.
Ambassador Balya said that President Salva Kiir has on several occasions while meeting Ugandan government officials expressed reservations about the authenticity of some of the claims by the Ugandan traders. The Ugandan trade ministry says the traders claims amount to over US 1 billion dollars.
“His Excellency Salva Kiir doubts whether all these claimants have a genuine case; he even doubts this amount of money being claimed. He has several question marks on this issue, ” Balya said.
Balya added that, “When I was handing in my credentials in September 2018, President Kiir repeatedly told me about connivance of politicians from both Uganda and South Sudan in the traders’ compensation, but because he wants peace with Uganda, he said traders would can be paid”.
MPs also discovered that the South Sudan government perceives the list of claimants as exaggerated and with non-existent traders something that Balya said should be investigated.
“You must scrutinize case by case to determine whether these are genuine claims. People here have reservations about those traders. People in both private sector and government connived to come up with lists of claimants, ” Balya added.
Balya asked the committee to dig deeper into the Memorandum of understanding (MoU) 2010 between Uganda and South Sudan to verify the companies that have been paid.
The chairperson of the Select Committee, Hon Ann Maria Nankabirwa said there is a lot of pressure from Ugandan traders who want to know their fate.
“Because of the bi-lateral agreement between the two countries, traders are looking at Ugandan government to pay them since they can no longer go to South Sudan,” she said.