todayJune 6, 2023

By Godwin Abedican


Since February this year, Minikey construction works limited, a local business entity based in Arua city has been left in limbo, after allegedly making supplies of skins and hides to a government entity, with their payment hanging in balance.

On the 9th of February 2023, some staff of Kawumu Tannery Uganda limited, a government owned value addition facility located in Luwero district that processes leather from hides and skins, came to Arua city to place orders for skins and hides which was invoiced by Minikey Construction works herein referred to as the supplier, with invoice number 0210, dated the same day.

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni commissioned Kawumu Tannery Uganda Limited, on Friday, October 7, 2022 and since then the facility has been locally purchasing inputs to facilitate its operations, but for Minikey construction works limited, it’s seems to be a business gone wrong since the fate of sixteen million, seven hundred sixty nine thousand seven hundred twelve (16, 769, 712) shillings they have been demanding for the supply of close to 10 tons of skins and hides to Kawumu Tannery Uganda Limited since then (9th February 2023) remains unclear.

Isaa Noah Dalili, the supplier says he has been demanding for this money but the company has always been making empty promises for him.
Dalili says, every time he requests for the money, he is told to wait for a day or two and check the bank account, but nothing is deposited. "We used to get payments faster some years then, but this year in February, I loaded almost 10 tons of skins and hides to be taken to this newly created turnery which is located in Luwero, up to now the payment has not been done. Since that day as I talk now, it is still with them. Their explanation is always, tomorrow they will deposit, tomorrow they will deposit, but whenever we go and check the account, it is not there,” Dalili explained.  

Isaa Noah Dlili, the supplier shows some of his stock from the store in Arua city

In a phone call to Roy Laban who introduced himself to the supplier as the Executive Director, Kawumu Tannery Uganda limited, he said their role is only to receive the supplies and forward documents to other departments in in one of the houses located within the factory (Okello house) where documentations and payments are processed, as he claimed not to have been aware about the delayed payment of the said money, which he promised to follow.

He added that he was told the supplier was paid in March, arguing that this new development is like a shock to him. "They supplied to me, we write our comments, we write our invoice values, total amounts and we send to Okello house, and from Okello house they are the ones who pay. We don’t pay from Kawumu Tannery. Kawumu Turnery we don’t pay, Okello house is the one that pays. So it is a delay from Okello house. Unless we have to call them and ask them why they are delaying these small business people like this,” he narrated.

He also confesses that he has been working with same supplier for long as he described this delay unfortunate and uncalled for. “Those are my people, I have dealt with them for long time. I thought that they were paid. They also told us from here that these people were cleared since March, then how comes they have not been paid, I don’t understand. I think that amount was paid. I am very sure but right now am not at the factory. If the payment was done I will send you a prove. No one has eaten that money and if it’s not yet paid I will follow up and let you know. No one has eaten the money, I am very sure. If I am still there, nothing will happen to our people they will be paid,” Roy said.  
Meanwhile, Caesar Trinity Draecabo, the chairperson Arua city chamber of commerce urges business men and women to be careful with people who are acting as middlemen as many businesses have collapsed due to their actions. "The best we can do is have a meeting, a face to face meeting then we can chat a way forward from there. But one thing that could be is to check details of this company on the Uganda Registration Service Bureau (URSB) and find the genuineness of that existing company and we study those other documents that led to the transaction. From there a lot can be easy," he said.

According to Draecabo, as Chamber of Commerce, it's their mandate to protect the interest of local businesses and the owner's in such incidences. He says, in such matters when they fail to hit agreements, as an entity, they have the option of going legal. "We can start with some simple negotiations, when this fails, of course you engage a lawyer, a commercial lawyer and then you go legal but after usually trying to arbitrate," he explained.

Kawumu Tannery, is a government owned state-of-the-art leather factory in Kawumu village, Luweero district. That was established with the objectives of adding value to leather, substituting the importation of leather products into the country and to promoting exports of leather products.

COVER PHOTO: Kawumu Tannery sign post Coutesy Photo

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