The report acknowledges that a partnership with Bidco “could adversely damage UNDP’s reputation and the communities it seeks to help”
KAMPALA, Uganda, November 22, 2016 – Embattled Ugandan farmers fighting threats and land grabbing by Bidco have praised a draft report by U.N. investigators that calls into question the company’s business practices.
The report is the result of a complaint by the Bugala Farmers Association to the U.N.’s Social and Environmental Compliance Unit (SECU).
The report can be found on the following link: APO.af/cWkh3e
In the complaint, the farmers stated that the United Nations had not performed sufficient due diligence on Bidco before inviting it to join Business Call to Action, which is part of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The farmers provided evidence that Bidco has engaged in human rights, labour and environmental violations in the Kalangala District of Bugala Island, Lake Victoria, Uganda, where Bidco has grabbed land from smallholder farmers and cut down over 18,000 acres of rainforest to make way for a large-scale palm oil business.
The U.N. investigators found fault with the decision to invite Bidco into partnership with UNDP: “After the fieldwork and additional research, SECU concluded that the processes employed by UNDP for admission of Bidco were not consistent with UNDP policies.”
The report acknowledges that a partnership with Bidco “could adversely damage UNDP’s reputation and the communities it seeks to help”, and Bidco’s activities “may be considered risky”.
Kenya-based Bidco has tried to distance itself from the allegations of land grabbing and environmental destruction in Uganda, but the UNDP investigators found there is a clear link between the company’s corporate structure, overseen by CEO Vimal Shah, and operations in Uganda.
The investigators also determined that Bidco’s claim of not being involved in land acquisition in Uganda is not accurate. Bidco “knew of, relied on, and encouraged the purchase (of land) by the government.” Bidco Uganda also was “engaged in decisions and discussions related to the purchase,” the report says.
John Muyisa, a representative of the Bugala Farmers Association, commended the work of the U.N. investigators, who visited remote Kalangala District as part of their research.
“We are very pleased that the United Nations has performed an objective evaluation of its internal processes and determined that it is risky to partner with Bidco. The United Nations is a globally admired organisation, and it is absolutely correct that, as the report says, ‘Communities should be empowered’ and not be trodden upon by predator corporations like Bidco.”
In light of the report’s findings, the Bugala Farmers Association has called on the United Nations to terminate its partnership with Bidco.
Any member of the public can comment on the U.N. draft report until 7 December. The report can be found on the following link: APO.af/cWkh3e
As of yesterday there we’re the reported 111 cars that vanished and weren’t procured by a Ministry in Uganda. Because of that I had to look more through the report of the Auditor General John Muwanga. There are many stories; some of the ones in this Report have already been discussed on my page.
There so many stories to pick, but here is some of my favourites that shows all from a goats, expressways to other where money have disappeared, over-compensated or not allocated needed funds for the planned procurement and projects that the Government we’re supposed to do. Take a look!
Indebted to International Organizations:
“I noted that a number of Government entities are indebted to International Organizations such as PTA Bank, ADB, EADB, WTO, UNIDO, COMESA and Shelter Afrique. A sample of five entities revealed indebtedness of UGX.77,724,089,603 and US$.4,968,950” (OAG, P: 36, 2015).
Overpay on construction of Kampala-Entebbe Expressway:
“An analysis was done and adjustments for the different features of the two expressways were made. It was observed that the unit cost for the Kampala-Entebbe expressway was US$ 2.315 million per lane kilometre while the similar expressway was US$ 1.204 million per lane kilometer” (OAG, P: 38, 2015).
NAO Project going nowhere:
“The protocol agreement between Government of Uganda (GoU) and Democratic People’s Republic of China (DPRC) was signed on the 27th June 2008. It involved establishment of a demonstration centre under the National Agricultural Organisation. However, it was observed that after hand-over of the site by Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries to the DPRC, there was no proper follow up by Government on the project as such it was difficult to establish whether the anticipated funding of RMB YUAN 50,000,000 equivalent to UGX.26 bn was received and how it was applied to the project” (OAG, P: 42, 2015).
NCIP disbursed funds:
“Government signed fourteen (14) protocols under the Northern Corridor Integration Projects where substantial amounts of funds have been invested and implementation is on-going. For example amounts totalling to UGX4.2bn was disbursed to fund the power interconnection and the Hoima-Lokichar-Lamu oil pipeline. However, the protocols do not provide for regional coordination and monitoring as well as the audit framework to provide an independent assurance on the utilization of joint funds. This renders it difficult to track the progress of the projects and follow up the accountability for the funds disbursed” (OAG, P: 43, 2015).
Advances Unaccounted for:
“Uganda National Roads Authority: 47,738,040,619 UGX” (…) “Ministry of Local Government: 3,827,011,454 UGX” (OAG, P:87, 2015).
Bidco has avoided VAT:
“It was noted that as of November, 2014, the outstanding VAT obligations for BIDCO stood at UGX.744,420,170, included in this figure was late payment interest charge of UGX.168,747,557. Accordingly, a sum of UGX.700,000,000 was paid to URA towards settlement of the tax arrears” (OAG, P: 93, 2015). “After the eleven (11) years, BIDCO would start paying VAT directly on its own and from the 12th year start refunding to Government the VAT plus 5% interest for the first eleven (11) years in (8) equal installments over a period of (8) years. This condition was subject to fulfillment of article 4(3) of the agreement which requires Government to have handed fully to BIDCO all the agreed 26,500 hectares of land” (OAG, P: 94, 2015).
“In August, 2010, the Governing Council of the African Development Bank (AfDB) under the sixth general capital increase of the bank allocated Uganda shares worth USD.19,759,798 payable over a 12 years period in annual instalments of USD.1,646,649. It was noted that the payment of Uganda’s 4th instalment of UDS.1,293,299 which became due on 16th March, 2015 had not been made. As a result, the callable shares related to the missed instalment had been suspended in line with the Board of Governors resolution on the sixth general capital increase of the bank meeting” (OAG, P:95, 2016).
“The banana project owns land in Bushenyi together with other movable properties. However, it was noted that the land title is still in the names of the project without the legal mandate to continue owning this land of behalf on government unless the expired legal status is resolved following the legal opinion of the Attorney General to transfer the project under Agriculture sector” (…) “During the financial year 2014/2015, the PIBID project had a budget provision of UGX.9bn out of which only UGX.2.7bn was released as vote on account and as a result, activities worth UGX.6,682,145,000 were not under taken. The affected activities include: purchase and installation of machinery and equipment (UGX.2.5bn), Construction materials (UGX.1.457bn.), marketing of the tooke products (UGX.777,665,000) and procurement of transport equipment (UGX.780,000000)” (OAG, P: 102-103, 2015).
Delayed Construction of Katuna OSBP and swamp reclamation works:
“The construction of Katuna OSBP is undertaken at a contract sum of UGX.8,951,277,750 and Swamp reclamation for access road works estimated at UGX.12,000,000,000. The commencement date for the construction was 13th June 2014 and the estimated completion date was set for 13th June 2015. This was later revised to 30th December 2015. Inspection of construction works showed the following” (…) “The EU Confirmed funding on the 12th May 2014 and all the conditions set by World Bank were met including NEMA’s clearance that was received on the 30th April 2014. I noted that GOU was required to finance the building works for Katuna OSBP since IDA credit funding had been exhausted. The contract for construction of OSBP was finally awarded at a sum of UGX.8,951,277,750 on the 5th June 2014. The EU delayed to operationalize her support and the contractor could not commence on the major building works due to delayed reclamation of the wetland where the buildings were to be constructed” (…) “Management explained that heavy rains, poor terrain and lack of material sources in Katuna such as sand are the biggest challenges. The would be material sources such as hard core are not readily accessible due to the hilly terrain of the area and the contractor can only make a few trips only on a sunny day. For materials like sand, the source is Mbarara (about 150km) and the contractor can only make a few trips given that the road (Mbarara-Ntungamo and Kabale-Katuna) is under construction” (OAG, P: 137-139, 2015).
Uganda Police Force:
“A review of the statement of financial position revealed outstanding payables of UGX.16,454,307,782. Payables worth UGX.10,500,682,162 were incurred during the year which implies that management continued to incur arrears without establishing sufficient mechanisms to monitor and control them” (OAG, P: 183, 2015).
Ministry of Local Government:
“A review of the Ministry of Local Government’s expenditure revealed that the entity charged wrong expenditure codes to a tune of UGX.12,086,792,676. This constituted 40% of total actual expenditure for the Ministry of Local Government. Whereas the funds were spent on items for which they were not originally budgeted for, the accounts have been presented in a way that reflects that the amounts were spent on the earlier budgeted items” (OAG, 2015).
M/S Faw Limited:
“A local company was contracted by the Ministry to provide storage space for the various roads, sanitary and fire-fighting equipment procured under a Chinese loan in 2011/2012 financial year from their parent company. The providers were paid UGX.1,416,000,000 during the year 2014/15 for 20 months storage of the equipment delivered. A review of the procurement file revealed the following” (…) “It was noted that only the Contracts Committee decision on a submission (PP Form 209) approving the evaluation report and contract award at a monthly fee of UGX.70,800,000 were available on file. However, the Solicitor General’s approval and contract agreement were on the procurement file. No initiation of procurement, invitation of potential bidders, record of receipt of bidders, evaluation report and PDU submission of Evaluation Committee report to Contracts Committee were on file to support the award” (…) “A review of the availed documentation revealed that two conflicting pro-forma invoices were submitted by the firm with one quoting a monthly fee of US$.14,160 VAT inclusive for ten months, that is; from 1st June 2012 to 31st March 2013 totaling US$.141,600 and dated 17/5/2012 and another one dated 2/1/2012 quoting a monthly fee of UGX.70,800,000 VAT inclusive for twenty months without clarifying the particular months” (…) “The final batch which arrived in August 2013, was commissioned by the president in October 2013 and handed over to police on 19th December 2013 implying storage of at most five (5) months. This makes fourteen (14) total months of storage as opposed to the 20 months billed resulting into a loss of UGX.424,800,000” (OAG, P: 237-239).
Ministry of Defence:
“During the year the Ministry’s total expenditure on land acquired amounted to UGX.1,119,388,145. However, it was noted that the government policy of capitalising the acquired land from the financial year 2011/2012 did not give guidance on what to include as cost of land acquired. As such, this amount could not be verified due to lack of guidelines on treatment of land costs in the financial statements” (…) “It was observed that a sum of UGX.1,000,000,000 was paid to an individual as part payment on a claim of UGX.2,958,668,733 for the compensation of 683 cattle and 119 goats which were handed over to 4th Division for safe custody during the insurgency period in 1986” (…) “It was not possible to confirm whether this claim had not been paid before since it is now 28 years since the purported supply of the animals” (…) “It also appears that these animals were for various people but instead the compensation was made to one individual” (OAG, P: 285-288, 2015).
State House Entebbe – Okello House:
“State House has been occupying Okello House for many years with a tenancy agreement that expired in 2013. However, it was observed that State House has not renewed the tenancy agreement and no rent payments have been made to the landlord despite continued occupancy. At the close of the financial year, a sum of UGX.1.272,363,507 was outstanding in rental arrears” (…) “National Housing and Construction Corporation owns properties on Plot 1 Kyagwe Road–Nakasero which is currently occupied by State House. Documents indicate that National Housing has been demanding arrears of UGX.201,100,000 from State House. These arrears have not been reflected in the financial statements” (OAG, P: 294-295, 2015).
If you don’t find this interesting that the Government of Uganda is misspending funds in this way and that this is just a figment of imagination as this is pieces of a giant report. The most interesting is that one man got the whole piece of the pie of what happen in 1986 and secondly that the State House doesn’t even have an agreement with the tenant who owns Okello House where the President has gallant dignitaries. That shows the state of affairs, brothers, time for a change and also better procedures and practices! Peace.
OAG – ANNUAL REPORT OF THE AUDITOR GENERAL FOR THE YEAR ENDED 30TH JUNE 2015
Members of Prince Charles’ Banking Environment Initiative fail to cut ties with companies that deforest in Africa.
KAMPALA, Uganda, August 23, 2016 – East African protesters have taken to the streets of London to demonstrate against banks that do business with Bidco Africa, highlighting the connection between global financial institutions, The Prince of Wales and widespread deforestation in Africa.
Barclays and Standard Chartered saw their London headquarters picketed due to their funding of Nairobi-based Bidco, a company that cuts down thousands of acres of pristine rainforest in Uganda, and engages in human rights and tax violations in Kenya and Tanzania.
The Bidco Truth Coalition (No2Bidco.org), an activist alliance, has revealed that the Banking Environment Initiative (BEI), based at Cambridge University’s Institute for Sustainability Leadership under the patronage of The Prince of Wales, is failing in its mission to lead the banking industry in collectively directing capital towards environmentally and socially sustainable economic development.
The BEI’s nine member banks are Barclays, Standard Chartered, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Lloyds, Northern Trust, RBS, Santander and Westpac.
By signing up to BEI’s ‘Soft Commodities’ Compact, the nine banks have committed to only direct capital towards sustainable business models and achieve zero net deforestation among their client Companies.
Under BEI guidelines, member banks must drop clients that don’t measure up to socially and environmentally responsible policies.
Bidco Africa, which has engaged in multiple human rights, labour, tax and environmental violations, has publically stated that it does business with Barclays, Standard Chartered, Citibank, Equity Bank and Kenya Commercial Bank.
Bidco owns an oil palm plantation that has deforested 18,000 acres of rainforest in Uganda. Bidco has also grabbed land from over 100 smallholder farmers.
The environmental impact of the palm oil project has led activists to call on the UN Global Compact to eject Bidco from its roster of members.
In 2004, the World Bank pulled out of Bidco’s Uganda project, citing violations of the World Bank’s anti-deforestation policies.
But BEI has remained silent, and Barclays, Standard Chartered and other banks continue to do business with Bidco Africa.
The Bidco Truth Coalition calls on BEI, its patron, The Prince of Wales, and BEI’s nine member banks to publically state that they will no longer do business with Bidco and other companies that destroy the environment.
Bidco Truth Coalition unites groups to demand accountability for Bidco
KAMPALA, Uganda, May 31, 2016 – The Bidco Truth Coalition, an online activist organisation, has launched No2Bidco.org, a platform dedicated to charting the human rights and environmental violations of Bidco Africa, the Kenya-based edible oil producer headed by CEO Vimal Shah.
No2Bidco.org includes a catalogue of Bidco’s violations, including illegal labour practices in Kenya, deforestation in Uganda and tax evasion across East Africa. The platform also provides visitors with the ability to add their voices to a global campaign of petitions and letter-writing to reveal Bidco’s business practices.
No2Bidco.org’s central archive of independent reports about Bidco provides activists, businesses, governments and NGOs unfiltered access to information free from Bidco’s influence on the media.
No2Bidco.org includes a catalogue of Bidco’s violations, including illegal labour practices in Kenya, deforestation in Uganda and tax evasion across East Africa
The platform’s anchor organisation is the National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE), the respected Uganda-based Friends of the Earth affiliate. Other organisations include the Bugala Farmers Association, a Ugandan group of more than 100 farmers who lost their land to Bidco; Citizens for Tax Compliance, a Kenya-based group that advocates corporate tax compliance; the Association of Non-aligned Bidco Workers.
Founded in 1997, NAPE has been instrumental in giving a voice to farmers displaced by Bidco’s deforestation on Uganda’s pristine Ssese Islands. NAPE and its dedicated staff have a history of exposing corporations and governments that collude to earn vast sums of money at the expense of poor individuals.
The Bugala Farmers Association, which has successfully challenged Bidco in court for more than a year over its members’ loss of land, recently submitted a petition to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for partnering with Bidco. As a result, UNDP has launched an investigation into its partnership with Bidco.
The Association of Non-aligned Bidco Labourers is a group in Kenya and Uganda that gives informal representation to aggrieved casual workers at Bidco’s factories. Most workers supported have been terminated illegally, experienced abuse by Bidco management or been injured at the workplace.
The Bidco Truth Coalition invites other like-minded organisations to join the No2Bidco.org platform to demand change at Bidco and accountability for those who support the company.
“The United Nations development program has deployed a team of experts to Kalangala district to investigate allegations of human rights violation by BIDCO Palm Oil Company. This follows the farmers’ petition to UNDP in November 2015 upon learning that the oil firm had been requisitioning for money from the UNDP for expositions. Now the investigative team says money will not be advanced till further notice” (NBS TV Uganda, 2016)
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has received a petition from the Bugala Farmers Association in Uganda.
NEW YORK, United States of America, February 25, The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has received a petition from the Bugala Farmers Association in Uganda related to UNDP’s association with Bidco Africa Ltd., as a result of the company’s membership with the Business Call to Action (BCtA). The BCtA is an alliance of several donor and other institutions that challenges companies to use their core business to engage poor populations across their value chains, while contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Bidco Africa Ltd. became a member of the BCtA in September 2015. UNDP hosts the secretariat and is a member of the Donor Steering Committee of the BCtA.
In addition to the petition, a complaint was submitted to UNDP’s Stakeholder Response Mechanism (SRM) and Social and Environmental Compliance Unit (SECU) (UNDP.org/secu-srm). This request is currently being reviewed for eligibility for either or both channels. The outcome of these reviews will be posted on the SRM Case Registry (APO.af/ztoHfg) and SECU Case Registry (APO.af/a3HHBf).
If you have forgotten:
What the Ministry of Agriculture press release earlier this august:
Here is another blogger who has followed the land grabbing and has great article:
And a few sheets of information to prove that their more to this business then just some words here and there!
Another fact sheet as well:
More information read this: