The main reason why David Ojok- Oyite was appointed Chair Uganda Coffee Marketing Board(CMB) was to stamp out corruption in the company, the sort of corrupt dealings in coffee inherited from Amin’s era. CMB badly needed someone with authority and standing like David.
The background of David’s appointment was that after the 1980 elections the UPC government chose one of its unsuccessful party parliamentary candidates as Chair/Managing Director of CMB. Few weeks into the job this Chair/MD made a dashing world tour of CMB offices in Mombasa, London and New York. He was immediately relieved of his duties on his return. I have no clue why this was done and I am not suggesting there was anything irregular that this guy did
during the globetrotting trip. The Board was thereafter restructured. The position of Chair/Managing Director
was split. David Ojok Oyite was appointed Chair (part time), an old hand in CMB, who served as Uganda Rep at the International Coffee Organisation in London in late 60’s was recalled from retirement and appointed General Manager.
The whole exercise was to give assurance to the nation that their main foreign exchange earner was in safe hands and corruption would not be tolerated, smuggling of coffee would stop and Uganda would meet its world market quota
requirements. David rarely chaired board meetings. The name was enough. Most board meetings were chaired by his Deputy Hon Kenneth Magombe MP from Bugisu, a professional with a wealth of experience in commerce and finance.
The revamped board and the Central Bank and the Minister of Finance, (the man himself) monitored sale and receipts of coffee very closely. The rumours that the proceeds of sale of coffee were deposited on personal accounts of Oyite- Ojok with all the oversights in place is difficult to accept. Besides I doubt that a publicly quoted company like J H Rayner/Berisford, the London international commodity company which bought the bulk of Uganda coffee would go the extent of depositing the proceeds to the tune of $500m to an individual accounts without being detected considering strict UK companies laws. $500m wass serious money then as it is now.
Incidentally the proprietor of a leading FM Radio in Kampala was the boss of JH Rayner/Berisfod Eastern Africa then and is the best well placed man who knows all about coffee exports and deals from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, and Ethiopia
for 20 odd years.
David was not a corrupt man as some people painted him to be. There is no legacy of corruption in form of mansions, businesses that can be traced to David’s name after his death. I know a lot of rogue Asian businessmen in Uganda House who use to masquarade about their business links with him. One of them was Hussein Lira and later on
changed his name to Hussein Kitgum during Tito’s time.