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UGANDA: Finland company Patria admits mistake in death of businessman

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HELSINKI TIMES – Patria made mistakes in case of businessman found dead in Uganda, admits CEO.

Olli Isotalo, the CEO of Patria, has admitted to YLE that the state-owned defence manufacturer made mistakes in giving a businessman a permission to market its products in Uganda.

The Finnish businessman’s ties to the defence manufacturer were exposed after he was found dead in a hotel room in Kampala, the capital of Uganda, in early February. The man had been given a permission to market the products of Patria in Uganda and Mozambique by a sales manager at Patria.

Isotalo said the sales manager did not have the authority to give the permission.

“It was an error of judgement, because the permission would’ve required an approval from the superior of the sales manager, and assessments in accordance with the processes of Patria,” he said in an interview with YLE on Tuesday.

Patria had conduct a background check on the businessman, finding no obstacles to starting the co-operation, but failed to conduct the requisite country assessments in Uganda and Mozambique, according to the public broadcasting company.

“Uganda has been listed, for example, for human rights violations by Transparency International. Patria is not looking for business there,” told Isotalo.

The middle-aged businessman was neither under contract at Patria nor in Africa at the request of Patria, a company spokesperson stated when commenting on the case to Helsingin Sanomat. He had simply been given a permission to distribute brochures for the products of the defence manufacturer.

His cause of death has yet been confirmed. The case has garnered media attention also in Uganda.

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