On Wednesday, renowned human rights Lawyerone Isaac Kimaze Ssemakadde of Centre for Legal Aid, paraded a Chinese elderly lady in her 50s before the press at Club Obligato. We later learnt that the lady, Wang Yong Yie is a widow to late Ji Zhong Wu (51), who died on September 11, 2021, in Uganda, having been allegedly ‘trafficked’ into the country to work at Mahathi Infra Uganda Ltd.
After entering Uganda, Ssemakadde said Zong was received by Mahathi Infra Uganda Limited, ”a company that subjected him to all manner of violations including but not limited to confiscation of his passport, overstaying his visa, forced and illegal employment, and finally death due to the company’s outrageous negligence.”
However, contrary to Ssemakade’s narration, in a press conference held at Sheraton Hotel on Thursday afternoon, Mahathi Infra, through their lawyers, Kirunda & Wasige Co.Advocates, denied ever recruiting Mr.Wu to work for them! To make their point clearer, they even said they never hired his services and so, dragging their name into his unfortunate death is simply a cheap tactic being deployed by lawyer Ssemakadde to attract undue attention.
”Mr. Wu was not, at the time of his death, at the time of his coming into Uganda or at any point in his lifetime, an employee of Mahathi Infra Uganda Limited. Mahathi Infra did not recruit or procure Mr. Wu’s services in Uganda or from his country of origin. Mr. Wu’s widow is fully knowledgeable of who the deceased’s employer was,” Counsel Kirunda told journalists.
On accusations of human trafficking and holding Wu’s passport, Infra lawyers said; ”We emphasize that Mahathi Infra Uganda Limited does not engage in human sacrifice, do not exploit their employees to death, has never exerted undue influence or engaged in “misinformation and disinformation” and is certainly not engaged in human trafficking.”
Kirunda says the Company and its principal persons and officers are treating the entirety of Ssemakadde’s communication as libellous and defamatory material on the basis of which they have received firm and stern instructions to take decisive legal action. ”We will hold Mr.Semakadde and his clients to the strictest proof of their baseless, spurious and materially false allegations,” vows Kirunda.
Infra Clarifies On Wu’s Death
According to Kirunda, on behalf of Infra, Wu’s services were procured by a different company and in the course of his employment, it was discovered that he suffered from an autoimmune disease (your own red blood cells fight with white blood cells to death), according to Kirunda’s explanation.
Contrary to the allegations made at yesterday’s presser, Kirunda says Mr. Wu’s employers provided him with the best possible care in Uganda and met all the attendant bills. He adds that at no time did they deny Wu medical treatment, or restrain him from seeking expert treatment out of the country if he so desired.
”To our client’s knowledge, Mr. Wu died from the escalation of his medical condition, for which limitations of science, unfortunately, have not facilitated a cure yet. He was not a victim of any of the matters alleged in yesterday’s statement,” noted Kirunda.
In fact, Kirunda wonders how come Mr. Wu who passed away on 11th September 2021 since then, the widow had never sought a police investigation into the death of her husband so as to discover the real truth behind it all.
Meanwhile, Kirunda says, ‘in the interest of full disclosure and so that the matter is put to a conclusive determination, Mahathi Infra Ltd has sought Uganda Police’s intervention and an inquest is ongoing.
”Our client has full faith and confidence in the Uganda Police and all the relevant agencies and hospitals that treated the deceased to provide a full, thorough and complete account of the events and causes leading to Mr. Wu’s death,” he noted adding;
”Our client condoles with Mrs Wu on the unfortunate demise of her husband. However, it is regrettable that Mr.Wu’s unfortunate demise is now being used to distract Uganda from the critical investment that our client is undertaking in the country.”
Who Is This Mahathi Infra?
Mahathi Infra Uganda Limited is a global company headquartered in India, dealing in power, oil and gas. The company has branches in several other countries across the globe.
The company’s core speciality lies in its engineering expertise in safe and efficient oil and maritime infrastructure. They provide the infrastructure necessary to store and transport fuel and in East Africa, the company looks forward to providing reliable seaborne transportation of oil from Kenya to Uganda with an aim to bring several benefits to the country and its economy, cum this December.
What Is Mahathi Infra Ltd’s Operations In Uganda Mean To Economy & Local Ugandan
The Company has built Uganda’s largest ship so far, measuring 118 metres by 23 metres. For context, this ship is longer than Namboole stadium. The ship has the capacity to bring into the country 4.6 million liters of fuel. This is the first of 4 ships that the Company will build and put on Ugandan waters. This translates into massive employment opportunities for Ugandans.
Uganda consumes approximately 5 million liters of fuel a day. The national fuel reserves in Jinja have not held more than 2 million liters of fuel in a day for a very long time. This is why in 2008 when Kenya had political challenges that caused a shortage in fuel supply, Uganda’s economy suffered enormously and the shilling has never retraced to pre-2008 prices against the dollar. But Infra’s Kawuku facility will ensure that Uganda is self-reliant in its fuel consumption needs. This is a capacity, national economy and national
In fact, Infra’s facility will significantly reduce the cost of importation of fuel by almost half, which will in turn, hopefully, translate into a reduction in fuel prices.
Two, the redirecting of fuel transportation from the road to water, and reducing the trucks on the Malaba-Mombasa-Kampala route will significantly reduce the time it takes to import fuel into Uganda.
Not only the above but it will also reduce traffic on that route as the number of trucks on the road is expected to drop significantly. One in ten cars on that route is a fuel truck. Their continued presence on the road has always been a high risk as they transport a volatile product, which is susceptible to catastrophic effects in the event of an accident.
It’s said that the facility in Kawuku will also translate in massive foreign exchange savings, as it will reduce dependence on foreign-owned trucks, which comprise the majority of trucks engaged in the fuel importation business in Uganda today.
Also, the facility will go a long way in addressing the challenge of fuel adulteration, which is mostly perpetuated in the course of transporting fuel into the country by road. This is will have a direct benefit to road users who are the end consumers of fuel.
Beloved readers, Mahathi facility has a number of significant strategic interventions and benefits to Ugandans but allows us before concluding this article to inform you that redirecting importation of fuel to rely on water transport will ease the load on Uganda’s roads and translate into a saving on government budgetary expenditure for the maintenance of the road network that services fuel importation.