The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has told government to separate the responsibilities of the government’s Official Receiver, Bemanya Twebaze from the direct administration of Uganda Telecom Network (UTL).
The decision is seen as a big blow to Bemanya who had tactfully tried to dodge an audit into the operations of UTL.
It also emboldens government to remove him 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.
“It is necessary for government to separate the office of the Official Receiver from that of the Administrator because in respect to UTL, it is still the same person,” said Kadaga.
“So honorable members, there will be no select committee on this matter. Let the government bring the report on the implementation of our recommendations,” added Kadaga.
Mr. Bemanya, the Registrar General and Official Receiver of Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB), 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 one month 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 November 28th 2018, the Minister of Finance, Matia Kasaija wrote to the Auditor General, John Mwanga to carry out a special audit of three years on UTL from May 2017 when Bemanya took charge.
Auditor General was reportedly blocked by Bemanya from doing the audit.
Bemanya in a press briefing on Friday last week said he had not blocked investigations but that it was not the right time for it to be carried out.
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.
ChimpReports understands that the government is preparing to swear a new affidavit at Kampala High Court Civil Division to change the administration of UTL.