Roko pleads with Parliament over $4.6m South Sudan compensation

ROKO construction company limited has pleaded with MPs on the select committee on South Sudan compensation to consider them for compensation.

ROKO, a civil engineering, and construction company in Uganda was contracted in 2009, by the Government of South Sudan to rehabilitate Juba International and Domestic Airport.

However, following the Juba crisis in 2013, construction of the airport stalled to date.

Since then, ROKO has been demanding $4.6 million from the Government of South Sudan.

Appearing before the select committee on South Sudan at Parliament chaired by Ann Maria Nankabirwa, ROKO said the absence of the $4.6 million has affected their operations.

Willie Swanepoel, ROKO’s Director says they bought materials such as cement which has gone to waste.

Since the war broke out in 2013, Swanepoel told the MPs, the construction firm has been maintaining permanent security guards at the site and a few workers to take care of the facility which has cost them a lot.

He pleaded with the committee to consider them on the compensation, as efforts to engage South Sudan Government has failed.

Swanepoel told the MPs that they were informed by the South Sudan Government that they don’t have money to pay the company.

Nankabirwa asked ROKO to provide a list of Ugandan companies that it sub contracted to work in South Sudan.

The committee says of the money they demand, 70% will go to ROKO, while 30 will go to the subcontracted persons.

The companies, under the Uganda-South Sudan Grain Traders and Suppliers Association Ltd, supplied maize and sorghum to 10 South Sudan states under the Strategic Grain Reserves Suppliers for Shs 208 billion between 2008 and 2010.

Under the agreement, the money was to be paid in five installments. However, the South Sudan government only paid the first installment of 56 billion Shillings, leaving a debt of Shs 152 billion prior to the outbreak of the civil war in 2013.

The government has since secured parliamentary approval to clear the debt on behalf of the South Sudan government to traders who have been verified. The South Sudan government will then pay back the money based on a repayment schedule agreed upon in a five-year Bilateral Agreement that runs from 2018- 2022.

The 10 companies that were subject to the 2010 Memorandum of Understanding between Uganda and South Sudan include Rubya Investments, Kibungo Enterprises, Aponye (U) Limited, Afro Kai Ltd, Swift Commodities Establishment Ltd, Sunrise Commodities, Ms. Sophie Omari, Apo General Agencies, Ropani International and K.K Transporters.

Companies that were not included in the list are; Roko Construction Company, Ake-jo General enterprise, JB Traders, Odyek Ejang Company, Dott Services, Gunya company limited, Premier company, MFK company among others.