and Madina Tebajjukira
THE controversial fake farm tools supplied to internally displaced persons in northern Uganda were removed from customs bonded warehouses before they were tested by the National Bureau of Standards.
The executive director, Terry Kahuma, who appeared before the parliamentary probe committee yesterday, said the experts were denied access to the tools.
Kahuma said they could not inspect 1,884 cartons of hoes, hand axes, pangas and sickles stored by Transami inland container depot in Ntinda Industrial Area, Kampala last April.
â€œThe clearing agent, JWE, claimed that the items were donations which were badly needed by the receiving communities and could not wait for the bureauâ€™s testing,â€ Kahuma added.
He said the bureau was told the tools were not purchased by the Prime Ministerâ€™s Office, but were a donation from the Chinese government.
Kahuma also argued that the bureau lacked money and manpower to execute their duties.
He also blamed the Uganda Revenue Authority for releasing the goods before they were tested.
Kahuma pointed out that most traders who import fake goods pay their taxes in time and are cleared by the revenue authority before the goods are inspected and tested.
â€œAfter getting their taxes, revenue officials clear the goods.â€
However, the MPs accused him of neglecting his duties and causing a financial loss to the Government.
â€œYou created a loss for the Government by not collecting testing fees,â€ said John Odit (FDC).
â€œWhy didnâ€™t your staff follow the tools at the point of distribution?â€ asked Elijah Okupa (FDC).
Fake tools were not inspected - expert