Oil Palm Uganda has dismissed reports that one of its employees defrauded up to Sh. 7.4 billion from the company. The company has come out to reassure the general public and its stakeholders following reports on social media suggesting that the company had lost billions to its financial controller.
“Oil Palm Uganda Ltd (OPUL) has not been defrauded any money by its financial controller,” the company said in a statement. “The allegations made thus far are false and not supported by any evidence.”
The company further clarified that the financial controller who is alleged to have perpetrated the theft of some Sh. 7.4 billion had in fact resigned from the company to pursue other interests after parting ways with the company amicably.
The reports had further alleged that apart from losing the money, the company had also defaulted in making payments to the Kalangala Oil Palm Growers Trust (KOPGT). “This is fake news. Our last payment to KOPGT was made on the 25th of January 2019 for that month’s Palm fruit bunch supplies up to 21 st Supplies from 22nd to end of January to be paid by 10th of February as per practice,” said OPUL in a statement to Bizna Kenya.
“In the 2018 financial year, KOPGT received a total of UGX 23 billion from OPUL, for its palm fruit bunch supplies and an additional UCX UCC 3-9 billion as dividend for its 10 per cent shareholding in OPUL. This can be verified by the General Manager of Kalangala Oil Palm Crowers Trust (KOPGT),” the company further said in the statement.
OPUL has in the past publicly declared its policy commitment to maintaining a fully accountable and transparent organization with a zero tolerance for corruption.
The reports that have been circulating on social media have been attributed to social media outlets who have been accused of running a campaign without checking facts and verifying claims.
“By attacking OPUL’s reputation and that of its executives, the smear campaign’s intention unfortunately would be to place the livelihoods of OPUL’s 1300 employees, 1,800 KOPGT farmers, distributors and several other stakeholders that earn a living through their tireless contributions, at risk,” said OPUL.
“We believe that it is unfair and illegal to publish information attributed to sources who you have not contacted. For instance, at no time were the two OPUL officers and KOPGT officer quoted in the publications, contacted for attribution.”
Strikingly, the company revealed that one of the sources who was quoted in the claims as a former employee has actually never been an employee of OPU.
The company was also quick to state its commitment and support for a free media.
“We nonetheless strongly support the increased monitoring and whistle-blowing efforts now being made by journalists, bloggers and other media practitioners in helping ensure an ethical and corrupt free corporate Uganda,” it said.
But it also called for accountability and professionalism in order to avert ill conceived smear campaigns. “While we strive to maintain this, we are at the same time duty bound to protect the good name and reputation of our company and its employees, suppliers, distributors and other stakeholders from irresponsible and false accusations,” the company said.