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UTL Pension Scheme Heads to Court to Terminate Bemanya Administration  

The Uganda Communications Employees Contributory Pension Scheme (UCECPS) has made a decision to go court for the termination of Uganda Telecom Network (UTL) Administrator, Bemanya Twebaze.

UCECPS, which owes UTL Shs 14.7bn, said in a letter written to Twebaze on June 24th 2019 that its board has exhausted all avenues to recover their money from UTL but the Administrator frustrated all efforts and which against the receivership principles set out by court.

“Despite numerous demands to settle our debt amounting to Shs 14,785,836,332 and requests for meetings to discuss this matter, Bemanya arrogantly refused to meet our representatives,” said part of the letter.

UCECPS has also accused Bemanya of swindling over Shs 1bn of current workers’ contribution.

“The matters have now been made worse by the fact that contributions worth Shs 1,051,495,427 deducted from our current members under the employment of UTL Ltd have not been remitted to the scheme,” added the letter.

The Board of Trustees of UCECSP said the above tantamount to breach of obligations on the side of UTL Administrator.

“This is a serious breach of your obligations,” said the letter.

The Board explicitly stated that the pensioners have lost confidence in the administrator and going to court for the termination of his services.

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“As a creditor, the Board of Trustees of Uganda employees contributory pension scheme have lost confidence in you and as the Administrator and intends to move to the court so that your administration is terminated,” said the letter.

On Wednesday Government, who is the shareholder and the biggest creditor directed the Attorney General to remove Bemanya Twebaze from the position of administrator of Uganda Telecom.

“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 Privatization and Investment Minister Evelyne Anite in a letter to Attorney General, William Byaruhanga.

Bemanya, who is also the Uganda Registration Services Bureau boss, is accused of insubordination and creating difficult conditions for government to obtain a credible investor to revamp UTL since he took over as administrator on April 28, 2017.

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, 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.

Letter

Anite 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.

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