By Andrew Irumba
Kampala: The Auditor General John. F. S. Muwanga has chickened out on conducting a forensic investigative audit into the operations of the Uganda Telecom Limited.
SpyUganda.com has learnt that the Ministry of Finance on November 28th, 2018, wrote to the Auditor General, directing his office to conduct a thorough investigative audit of UTL and all the operations of its officials. However, AG Muwanga, in his letter dated April 24th, 2019, referenced as FIIT./54/116/01, asserts that he has no authority to undertake the exercise, since UTL is an entity that is in the process of liquidation and under the custody of court. Muwanga in his letter titled ‘REQUEST FOR A SPECIAL AUDIT OF UGANDA TELECOM’ states thus;
“This is to acknowledge receipt of your letter referenced EDP/242/285/02, dated 28th November, 2018, in which you requested me to undertake a special audit of Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL) currently under administration for a period of about 3 years. I have undertaken an initial background check on the status of the company, and have established the following pertinent matters which need to be taken into consideration before I can commission such an investigation;
The Company is currently under Administration, which is a court controlled process. This implies that the Company is undergoing an insolvency situation wherein any actions undertaken have to be agreed upon by the creditors and all shareholders. Any request for a special audit at this point in time may potentially pose legal challenges, unless it has been sanctioned by court.”
Muwanga adds that “The administrator is in advanced stages if identifying an investor as agreed upon by shareholders and creditors, and any information about an ongoing investigation (if commenced) is likely to affect any potential investors’ views about the company.” He also states that “The Libyan shareholders (Ucom) have in the past complained about reported discussions by the Administrator with Government of Uganda and yet they are supposed to be independent of shareholders. My intervention now following your request as a shareholder is likely to be equally interpreted by Ucom as acting on behalf of only one group of shareholders. In December 2016, a select Committee of Parliament was constituted to investigate the operations of Uganda Telecom Limited and the recommendations are yet to be implemented.” Muwanga concludes thus; “It is with this background that I am of the view that it is not prudent to commence such an exercise at this point in time. However, such a special audit can still be undertaken once the administration process is concluded…”