Government of Uganda has today Wednesday removed Bemanya Twebaze from the position of administrator of Uganda Telecom, Chimp Corps exclusively report.
“In effect, a decision has been taken to remove Mr Bemanya Twebaze, the official receiver as the current administrator and to immediately replace him with an individual that we will indicate,” said Privatisation and Investment Minister Evelyne Anite in a letter to Attorney General, William Byaruhanga.
ChimpReports understands Byaruhanga is currently in China where he accompanied the President for the negotiation of business deals between Kampala and Beijing.
“The purpose of this letter is to request you to urgently apply to court to replace the current administrator, within the context of section 172 of the Insolvency Act, 2011 and the Insolvency regulations (161(1),” she added.
Anite further said she would be pleased to “swear an affidavit to support the application where supporting reasons will be elaborated.”
She emphasized: “I implore you to have the petition filed without any delay to ensure that the Administration of the company progresses without any issue.”
The letter is copied to President Museveni, Vice President, Prime Minister and other senior government officials including Bemanya.
Bemanya, who is also the Uganda Registration Services Bureau boss, is accused of insurbodination and creating difficult conditions for government to obtain a credible investor to revamp UTL since he took over as administrator on April 28, 2017.
The development comes high on the heels of Parliament Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga’s decision ordering government to separate the responsibilities of the government’s Official Receiver from the direct administration of Uganda Telecom Network (UTL).
The decision was seen as a big blow to Bemanya who had tactfully tried to dodge an audit into the operations of UTL.
This website yesterday reported that Kadaga’s order had emboldened government to remove Bemanya from the position of administration, having failed to secure an investor for the telecom.
The Speaker told Ministers and Members of Parliament during Tuesday’s plenary session that there is no need to establish another select committee to investigate the current accountability crisis at the telecom company but the Executive should implement the Parliament report of 2016.
Speaking to journalists after the plenary sitting, Anite said in accordance with the Speaker’s ruling, the process of appointing an independent Administrator is going to start on Wednesday.
“It is now clear; the Official Receiver should be relieved from the running of the business. A new UTL administrator is going to be appointed through the same court process,” said Anite.
Bemanya was in April 2017 appointed the Administrator of UTL after government secured a court order to avoid liquidation and keep the company afloat.
The appointment followed Government’s decision to take full control of UTL from the departing Libyan investors to protect the interest of all stake holders (UTL subscribers, shareholders, GOU, employees, staff, creditors and the public). A court order was obtained in order to effect the process.
The administrator, as per the court order, was given a period of six months to point out measures of addressing the outstanding challenges of UTL, including financial gap of over Shs 500bn debt.
UTL creditors include government (Shs 195bn), ESATD/PTA bank (Shs 32bn), UCECPS Shs 12bn and NSSF (Shs 10bn).
Last Thursday, Minister of State for Privatization and Investments, Evelyn Anite told Parliament that government, which is both the majority shareholder and UTL creditor, lost control of the company due to failure to audit it.
On his part, Bemanya said he was not blocking the audit but that it was not the right time as they were in the final stages of selecting an investor.
He also implied that as an administrator he is only accountable to court.
However, the regulator, Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) and other creditors have since expressed concern over how Bemanya has been handling UTL’s affairs.
Anite today said in her letter to Byaruhanga that “whereas government is the only shareholder with absolute powers to take decisions on behalf of the company in accordance with insolvency Act and Regulations, and also the biggest creditor of UTL with over Shs 207bn, we have encountered considerable difficulty dealing with the Administrator and have completely lost confidence in his ability to continue serving the role of administrator.”
Anite will have to swear a new affidavit at Kampala High Court Civil Division to change the administration of UTL.