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Uganda: Kasaija, Ggoobi, and an investor was Summon Over a coffee deal

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Anita Among, the Speaker of Parliament, has asked the Trade Committee to look into the contentious coffee agreement.

Individuals and entities involved in the controversial coffee deal have been summoned by the Parliamentary Committee on Trade, Tourism and Industry to explain their role in the agreement that the government signed with Uganda Vinci Coffee Company Ltd (UVCC), a private company that was granted exclusive rights to sell and market Ugandan coffee on the international market.

Finance Minister Matia Kasaija, Italian investor Enrica Pinetti, the woman behind the multi-million dollar development of the International Specialised Hospital, and Mr. Ramathan Ggoobi, the Finance ministry’s Permanent Secretary, are among those asked to appear before the committee.

Mr. Kasaija is reported to have signed the controversial arrangement on behalf of the government, while Mr. Ggoobi is said to have been present when it was signed in February. UVCC was represented by Ms. Pinetti, who signed on behalf of the university.

Kiryowa Kiwanuka, the Attorney General, Francis Mwebesa, the Trade Minister, Frank Tumwebaze, and the Solicitor General are among the others.

Uganda Coffee Development Authority, Uganda Coffee Federation, Uganda Coffee Quality Traders’ Association, Uganda Coffee Traders’ Alliance, large scale coffee producers, Kawacom, UGACOF, ESCO, OLAM, and several other organizations are included on the list. On the 25th and 26th of April, all those who have been invited are anticipated to appear before the committee.

Ms. Anita Among, the Speaker of Parliament, directed the Trade Committee to investigate the contentious coffee deal last week. When the committee will submit its report to Parliament is unknown.

Mr. Mpaka Mwine, the committee chairperson, did not return our calls or text messages yesterday. Ms. Catherine Lamwaka, the committee’s deputy chairperson, also did not return our calls.

The arrangement, according to Dr. Abed Bwanika, the Member of Parliament for Kimanya-Kabonera, alienates Ugandans from the coffee business by giving a monopoly on coffee procurement and export to only one organization.

The agreement, according to Mr. David Kabanda, Kasambya County MP, is a disaster and sets a bad precedent in negotiations with private enterprises. He proposed that the agreement be revoked.

“If this coffee agreement is carried out, we will establish a very poor precedent.” It implies that in the future, one may choose the breed of animals to be raised in Uganda. Bananas and maize will be next, he tweeted.

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