Bidco factory in Jinja

Oil Palm Uganda has assured its stakeholders about its financial stability, dismissing reports of alleged Shs7.4 billion fraud as a smear campaign against the company.

In the latest statement, Oil Palm Uganda Managing Director and the Board, say Janadhan Naidhu, the financial controller alleged to have executed the ‘fraud’ resigned from the company to pursue other interests after serving his notice. He said allegations on some social media platforms in Uganda were false.

The statement said OPUL had not defaulted on its commercial obligations to Kalangala Oil Palm Growers Trust (KOPGT) as reported. The management revealed that it was up to date on its payments, with supplies of up to 21st January 2019 having been paid by 25th, while supplies from January 22nd to 31st will be paid by February 10, as per its practice.

The board said in 2018, Kalangala Oil Palm Growers Trust received Shs23 billion from Oil Palm Uganda for its palm fruit supplies and an additional Shs3.9 billion as dividend for its 10% shareholding in OPUL.

“OPUL notes with concern that some social media outlets seem to be unwittingly taking part in this ill-motivated smear campaign by publishing allegations against it without proper fact-checking, providing concrete or complete information to support them,” it says.

Bidco, owns 40 per cent of Oil Palm Uganda Limited and is the sole buyer of crude palm oil from OPUL. The Kalangala Oil Palm Project is part of the Ugandan Government Vegetable Oil Development Project (VODP) initiative geared towards increasing vegetable oil production in Uganda.

This joint venture spearheaded by Oil Palm Uganda Limited and Bidco Uganda Ltd is the single largest single foreign direct investment in Uganda in recent times crossing over $150 million.

Being such a massive and successful project, the board said malicious attacks targeted at OPUL would, unfortunately, jeopardize the jobs of its 1,300 employees, 1,800 contracted farmers, distributors and other suppliers who earn a living from the company.

It said the publishers of the reports had quoted nonexistent officials purporting to speak OPUL employees. “At no time were the two OPUL officers and KOPGT officer quoted in the publications contacted for attribution,” the board says. “The other source quoted in the fake news reports as an OPUL employee has never worked for OPUL.”

The board said OPUL was still committed to maintaining a fully accountable and transparent organization and zero-tolerance to corruption.