Sauman Services Limited, a licensed employment placement agency has refuted claims by over 100 ladies that the company is withholding their passports illegally, denying them a chance to travel to the Middle East for work.
Sauman services has been placing Ugandan ladies to Jordan and Saudi Arabia since 2015.
However, their initial license was not renewed under unclear circumstances last year.
The company had trained and approved travels of over 100 ladies to Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
This delay in renewal of their license, according to Mr. Ian Kaijuka, the company’s Managing Director, is the source of trouble.
Recently, a story run on NTV indicating that Sauman had withheld the ladies’ passports without their consent.
Mr. Kaijuka however, explains that this is not the case.
According to the letter of commitment, signed by all applicants, the ladies agreed to refunding monies paid by the company for their medical examination Shs120,000, training 70$ (An equivalent of Shs260,000) and yellow fever card 70,000 Shillings.
The ladies now need to refund the 450,000 Shillings to be given their passports as agreed in the commitment letter, they signed.
“We know all the ladies and they were all recruited by our company last year, when our license was still valid. At the time of the story, the renewal of our license was still in process. We went to the ministry, and they advised us that in the meantime, we should use another licensed company for the ladies who are already trained and done medicals. We identified one of the companies (ALMADINAH Agencies limited)” Kaijuka explains.
He added that; “We called all ladies and explained to them that to avoid delays in their travel, we could use the other agency to clear them. Out of the 150 ladies, only 4 declined. And we advised them to refund the cost of training, medical, yellow card to the company if they were to retrieve their passports.”
According to the MD, when the 4 ladies became adamant, they opted to go to police. They reported at Kabalagala police station, but the officers realized they did not meet terms of their agreement.
The 4 ladies, called the other over 100 who had accepted to go under Almadinah, and lured them into joining in on the police report.
The police after listening to company bosses decided to withhold the passports until the ladies clear with Sauman.
Kaijuka however states that in the meantime, if the ladies want to go, they are free to continue with their travels as the ministry has renewed the company’s license, however those withdrawing from traveling will have to pay.
“We have called all of them on Thursday to sort those who are still willing to travel and those who are no longer interested. In total each lady owes Sauman Services Limited Shs450,000. And after clearing that, they can have their passports” he said.
The company meets these costs in line with the bilateral agreement between Ugandan government and the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan that the employer caters for the travel expenses of the employee.
The employee is not liable to refunding the money paid by an employer, when they are deployed.
Ladies are trained and offered certificates before leaving Uganda.
The training covers housekeeping, Psychosocial orientation, legal and labour market orientation, cultural and social orientation, personal empowerment, hygiene and grooming, occupational health and safety, food hygiene, children, elderly and person with disability care, customer care and interpersonal relations, basic financial literacy, and the appropriate use of ICT and travel procedures and travel tips.