By Andrew Irumba
Kampala: President Yoweri Museveni has directed the State Minister for Privatization and Investment Evelyn Anite to institute an audit into the troubled Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL).
In a letter dated July 16, the president directed the Minister to constitute an Audit with immediate effect in the ongoing activities at UTL.
Museveni said, he had heard of some allegations and wanted them either cleared or confirmed.
“This is to direct you to institute an audit in the activities that are going on in Uganda Telecommunications Limited. I have heard of some allegations. The audit should clear them or confirm them,” Museveni’s letter reads in part.
Museveni’s directive is expected to put to rest the controversy surrounding the troubled telecom.
Anite and the UTL administrator Twebaze Bemanya have been at loggerheads with the minister accusing the latter of, among others, refusing to account to the government on the revenues and progress of the UTL, and has been calling for his removal.
The UTL saga started in June when Anite as the line minister in charge of privatization revealed that she met with Attorney General William Byaruhanga, Finance Minister Matia Kasaija and Secretary to Treasury Keith Muhakanizi to forge a way forward on how to get accountability from UTL administrator.
She said that in January this year, the Finance Minister wrote a letter to the Auditor General John Muwanga demanding an audit to be carried out on UTL having gone under administration.
According to Anite, the AG wrote back saying that he could not audit the company because it was a court led process.
Anite also explained how the Taleology Holdings GIB Ltd was awarded the contract in October 2018 to manage UTL over the State-founded Mauritius Telecom which had financial capability and muscle to run the company. She said that contracting Taleology was based on its higher proposal to invest in the company. She said that for not having money to invest in UTL, Taleology technically left shortly after it had been contracted but what is perturbing government is that it does not know the status of the company and how it is operating.
In her letter dated June 26, Anite directed William Byaruhanga to get an immediate replacement for Bemanya, saying all the concerned parties have lost confidence in him as an administrator and therefore, can no longer work with him.
However, in response to the Deputy Attorney General, Mwesigwa Rukutana blasted Anite saying she has no supervisory powers over the UTL administrator. “Whereas some government entities may be listed creditors, they have separate legal status.
Accordingly, a shareholder in this instance, the Minister of Finance Planning and Economic Development has no locus to apply to the court to remove the administrator from office,” Rukutana said in a letter dated June 28.
However, Minister Anite wrote to President Museveni over the ongoing differences onto the struggling Telecom. In the Minister’s letter dated June 29, she argued that although she gave a directive to the Attorney General to take action over the replacement of Bemanya Twebaze as Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL) administrator, the same had not been put to action.
Museveni’s letter follows another he issued early this month, directing that matters concerning the running of UTL be referred to Cabinet first before any action is taken. In a July 3 letter addressed to the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Gen Kahinda Otafiire, the President stated that the Cabinet decision of finding a strategic investor for UTL must be followed.