Seven businessmen in Gulu City have petitioned Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja to help them to recover Shillings 1 billion for supplies from Countryside Harvesters, a local Non governmental Organization.
The businessmen accuse Solomon Okello, the Director of Countryside Harvesters in Gulu City of failing to pay their money for more than a year after making supplies between February 2021 and August this year.
The businessmen allegedly supplied wide-ranging items that included piglets and freshman dairy cattle, motorcycles, motor vehicles computers, computers, furniture, and construction services among others.
In their October 11, 2022 petition, seen by this reporter, the businessmen through their lead petitioner Jet Pride Ventures Ltd say that their efforts to seek assistance from the local, district and security authorities have failed despite getting promises.
Nelson Okot, one of the petitioners and Director of Kica Ber International Uganda Ltd told Uganda Radio Network in an interview Thursday that they are now banking their hopes on the premier to help recover their monies.
Okot’s company supplied furniture and computers to the organization worth 59.5 million Shillings in July and August last year and according to a contract agreement, he was supposed to receive payment between two to six weeks upon delivery of the items.
Okot says he picked a loan from Centenary bank to conduct the business but notes that due to failure to service the loan, his houses have since been attached for sale by court bailiffs.
Okot isn’t the only one whose property is on the verge of being sold off after defaulting on the loan he acquired to make supplies to Countryside Harvesters. Francis Ojok, the Director of Jet Price Ventures Ltd told URN that he has a week left to pay a loan of over 90 million Shillings with Talanta Finance Ltd or lose out his property pledged as security.
Ojok says he made supplies of 40 freshman Dairy Cows worth 160 million Shillings but hasn’t received a penny for payment.
The petitioners now want the Premier to use her powers to rescue them or cause the government to bail them out financially since they are in a dire situation. Peter Banya, the Deputy Gulu Resident City Commissioner in charge of Pece-Laroo says although he hasn’t received complaints from the affected businessmen, fraud concerns against the organization’s Director had been making rounds.
According to Banya, several complaints have been registered in Lira, Agago, Pader, and Gulu against Solomon Okello who has also since been arrested over extortion. He says Okello is facing charges of fraud at the High Court in Kampala where he was referred last month after being picked up by the Police flying squad.
The Organization’s former Operations Manager Felix Omara told Uganda Radio Network that the complaints of the businessmen are genuine, adding that they indeed made supplies. He however distanced himself from the organization’s failure to pay the suppliers, saying he too was kept in the dark about its sources of funding.
“The Director was everything in the organization, he didn’t, however, reveal to me the source of funding and never involved me in that business so I had no knowledge. I have also left and pursued other things,” says Omara.
Other service suppliers who are demanding the organization include Joan Agatha General Enterprises (2.1 million Shillings for the supply of piglets), Ocaya George and Family (11.2 million Shillings for the supply of piglets), Aswa Technical Services & General Supply Company Ltd (75 million Shillings for construction and renovation of offices), and Rutaborwa Enterprises Ltd which supplied a vehicle, 10 boars, 62 piglets, and a motorcycle valued at 602 million Shillings.
The organization’s offices located in Bardege-Layibi Division remains closed. Uganda Radio Network however understands the organization is fully registered with Uganda Registration Service Board (URSB) with the number 80020003347362 operating as an indigenous NGO.