Janadhan Naidhu, the financial controller of Oil Palm Uganda Limited (OPUL) is on the run after allegedly defrauding the oil firm more than Shs 74 billion.
Highly placed sources at Bwendero Palm Oil Mill told URN last week that Naidhu fled to India through Entebbe airport last year.
According to sources, in 2013 Naidhu created three fictitious companies namely JANCO Construction, Wheels Logistics and Finix Logistics purportedly to transport crude oil from a palm oil mill to a liner, which would transport it to the Bidco palm oil refinery in Jinja and used them to siphon up to Shs 74 billion.
"By the time it was realized, the company had no operating costs and was asking its parent companies to provide for a surplus. Investigations pointed out some of the anomalies done by the financial controller and thus was interdicted," a source said.
Naidhu was given an electronic bracelet to monitor his movements and moved to Jinja from where he reportedly fled to India. Wilmar International, the parent company of Oil Palm Uganda Limited instituted a forensic audit to establish how the money was embezzled.
Two months after the audit was instituted, Kodey Rao, the managing director Bidco Uganda resigned in an email to staff at Bidco Uganda and Oil Palm Uganda limited, Bidco Kenya, Ghana, Ivory Cost and Wilmar International.
Rao had served Bidco Uganda for 20 years. He confirmed his resignation when contacted by our reporter.
"It is my time to retire. I have done my part and other people can start from where I have stopped," Rao said.
In his resignation letter, Rao highlighted his successes in Uganda and his latest proposal to expand oil palm growing to Buvuma, Mayuge, Rakai, Kyotera, Masaka and Kalungu districts.
Patrick Ochieng, a senior estates officer at Oil Palm Uganda (OPUL) said that Rao threw in the towel because he couldn't survive the audit since he approved the fake transactions by Naidhu.
Bidco Uganda human resource manager, Abbey Mukalu admits that there is an ongoing forensic audit at Oil Palm Uganda ltd. He also confirmed that Naidhu fled the country but declined to divulge details.
"It is true we have some challenges but I am not in position to talk about them," Mukalu said.
The financial scandal has led to the delayed payment of several palm oil outgrowers in Kalangala district. The outgrowers are reportedly owed up to Shs 2 billion by the company.
Jack Wycliffe Mbaleeba, the secretary Kalangala Oil Palm Growers Trust says the delayed payment had led to delayed cultivation of the palm oil fruits at several outgrowers farms.
Bidco has up to 40% shares in Oil Palm Uganda Limited and is the sole buyer of crude palm oil from OPUL.