Kamwenge Speaker Blocks Probe into Hima Cement Royalties

3038 Views Kamwenge, Uganda

In short
Councilors accuse the technical officers led by the Chief Administrative Officer, Owen Muhenda Rujumba, of failing to present any accountability on the royalties since Hima Cement started extracting limestone in the district in 2009.

Gerald Twebaze, the Kamwenge district council speaker, has blocked a proposal by council to set up a committee to investigate the alleged mismanagement of royalsts from Hima Cement to the district.

Kamwenge district is entitled to 30 million shillings in royalties from Hima Cement Factory for extracting limestone from Dura forest in Kanara Sub County. However, the councilors accuse the technical officers led by the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) of failing to present any accountability on the royalties since Hima Cement started extracting limestone in 2009.

On Tuesday this week, councilors tasked CAO Muhenda Owen Rujumba to explain whether Hima Cement has been paying any money to the district. Muhenda said they had not received any money from the cement factory since it started extracting limestone in the district. However, Dinah Monday, the woman councilor for Kanara Sub County, presented a copy of a letter from Hima directing the CAO to follow up the payments made by the factory to Uganda Revenue Authority.

In the letter dated August 20, 2012, Peter. J. Robson, the Hima Cement plant manager, explains that they are paying royalties to Kamwenge district through URA as stipulated in section 98 of the 2003 Mining Act.

Rujumba denied having received the letter, adding that he is not supposed to force URA to release the money.  This angered the councilors who proposed that an independent probe committee should be set up to investigate the matter. George Tunanukye, the representative for Nkoma Sub County, moved a motion to set up a probe committee.

He was supported by Terry Akankwasa and John Bosco Tumuhimbise, the councilors for Kabambiro and Busiriba Sub Counties respectively.

But Speaker Gerald Twebaze rejected the proposal saying that there is no evidence showing the alleged mismanagement of royalties. He directed the CAO to seek information from the relevant ministries and report back to council within two months.