By Harald Eraker
Borge-Aaserud and Jens Klev are both surprised when NorWatch confronts them with the investigations which show that Unitor's subsidiary company in Uganda participates in a project where millions of people in East Africa are the losers.
– It has not occurred to us that this was a problem. After all, from a resource point of view, Uganda is a rich country with comfortable temperatures. No one starves, and there is plenty fish in Lake Victoria, says Jens Klev, who is board representative in the subsidiary, Clovergem Fish & Foods, CFF.
– If this information is correct, I doubt that NORAD has had sufficient in depth knowledge. They should have checked that the local population were benefited before they gave their support. NORAD must take responsibility for this, says Borge-Aaserud, who was engaged in the building of the processing plant during the early 90's.
– What is UNITORS view on this matter, now you have heard which problems your export oriented activities have led to?
– It may be regrettable that the Nile-perch was set out in Lake Victoria by the British in the first place. But now its there, we should be able to exploit it, says Klev.
– 1996 is not a year to say «we don't care». UNITOR has only 19% ownership in CFF, but we will take this up with the leadership in CFF. When NORAD gets to hear of this, they will certainly act as well, adds Borge-Aaserud.
– Have UNITOR considered to pull out of the project?
– Had these problems been known prior to us entering the project, it would have been a different matter. Now, 99% of the investment money have been spent... Besides, NORAD will not accept that we pull out. They require that the project has Norwegian ownership, replies Borge-Aaserud.
Norwatch Newsletter 3/96