Oil Palm Uganda Ltd dismisses US$20m fraud allegations

UGANDA – Oil Palm Uganda Limited (OPUL), a palm oil producer in the country, has dismissed allegations that its financial controller has frauded the company a total US$20.16 million

In a statement published by the East African, OPUL further clarified that the company’s Financial Controller, Janadhan Naidu, had resigned from his position, and had not been dismissed due to fraud, as reported by several media.

“The allegations made thus far are false and not supported by any evidence. The fact is, the financial controller… resigned from the company to pursue interests and we parted amicably after he served his notice,” the company said in the statement.

The company in the statement further added that it has not defaulted on its commercial obligations to Kalangala Palm Oil Growers Trust (KOPGT) and has continued to make payments to the growers as per the agreements.

OPUL reiterated its commitment in maintaining full accountability and transparency to its employees, suppliers, distributors and stakeholders

In the 2018 financial year, OPUL says that it made payments amounting to US$6.26 million to KOPCT for its farm fruit bunch supplies and an additional US$1.06 million as dividend for KOPCT’a 10% shareholding in OPUL.

The Kalangala Oil Palm Project was developed as a part of the Ugandan Government Vegetable Oil Development Project (VODP) initiative aimed at increasing vegetable oil production in Uganda.

Through the project, the country has 10,000 hectares of oil palm trees, with 6,500 hectares operated by Oil Palm Uganda Limited (OPUL) in the form of a nucleus estate.

About 1,800 small holder growers through the KOPCT own the remaining 3,500 hectares who sell their fresh fruit bunches to one of two local mills operated by OPUL.

The palm oil project is a joint venture by Oil Palm Uganda Limited and BIDCO Uganda Ltd through an over US$ 150  million in foreign direct investment, government funding and support from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

Bidco Africa Limited is a Kenya-based edible oil manufacturer controlling a 40% stake at Oil Palm Uganda Limited and is the sole buyer of crude palm oil from OPUL. 

Bidco Africa Limited has grown its business and currently operates with subsidiaries and distributors across 16 countries in Africa.

It owns over 40 brands of a wide range of products which include edible oils, fats, margarine, laundry bars, detergents, personal care products and animal feeds.

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