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8 Jul 2016

Edward Ssekika, in Oil in Uganda

Uganda: Locals affected by Guangzhou Dongsong Energy's project decry inadequate compensation; company responds

"Locals accuse Tororo Phosphate investors of cheating them"

“When I went in, they opened for me pieces of paper and said you sign here. I first hesitated and asked where the rest of the (project affected) people were, they told me if I don’t want the money, I should get out, and if I don’t sign my land would be taken by government for free,” Rose Tibita, narrates. Tibita is one of the hundreds of residents affected by the phosphates mining project in Osukuru and Rubongi sub counties in Tororo district. She was forced to sign a surface rights agreement without knowing the contents of the contract, later realising that she had surrendered her land to Guangzhou Dongsong Energy Ltd, a Chinese company that is mining phosphates in the area, for 99 years......[The] locals are accusing the company of dishonesty in their dealings with them, particularly regarding land leases and compensations. Like, Tibita, most the project affected persons claim they received meagre compensation...

Guangzhou Dongsong Energy Group Ltd officials...[referred] us to their lawyers...Denis Kusasira, the managing partner at ABMAK Associates, the law firm that handled the transaction...said people were sensitized on whether to take a monitory compensation or be resettled but none opted for resettlement. He explained that the compensation at the rate of thirty million shillings for each acre of land, additional compensation for crops and other developments on the land as well as a thirty percent disturbance allowance were commensurate with the 99 year lease.