President Yoweri Museveni has spoken out on the controversy surrounding the Administration of government owned but insolvent Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL).
In recent weeks, the State Minister of Privatization and Investment, Evelyn Anite has piled pressure on the Office of the Attorney General demanding urgent application to court to have the current Administrator of UTL, Bemanya Twebaza removed and replaced.
However, in response, to Anite, both the Attorney General, William Byaruhanga and his deputy Mwesigwa Rukutana have advised against the request by the Minister, saying the Ministry of Finance under which Anite’s docket is lacks the locus to apply to court for replacing Bemanya.
This is because the Ministry of Finance is a shareholder and the law provides that only creditors to the insolvent company can apply to court for changes in Administration.
Both Byaruhanga and Rukutana further warned that the interference in the process of Administration could frustrate the ongoing process of sourcing for investors.
Now, in a letter written to the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Maj Gen Kahinda Otafiire, President Yoweri Museveni has reiterated the need to find investors for UTL, a process the Attorney General said Anite’s recent actions risk disrupting. The letter ignores Anite’s demand to have Bemanya removed.
“Refer to the telephone conversation I had with you this morning, the 3rd of July 2019,” Museveni wrote to Otafiire.
In his letter, Museveni advises against divesting the telco.
“As I have guided on several occasions given the strategic importance of UTL to the economy of Uganda, Government has been the process of identifying suitable investor(s) to partner with to revamp UTL as opposed to divesting it,” Museveni says in the letter a copy of which this news website has obtained.
“The above position was also taken by Cabinet”.
Museveni directed that no actions contrary to the position by Cabinet should be taken on UTL issues.
Among the issues that the government spokesperson communicated as having been discussed during Monday’s Cabinet sitting, matters pertaining to UTL weren’t listed.
“Therefore, no actions contrary to cabinet’s position should be taken. Further, Cabinet must always be consulted or related decisions concerning UTL before they are taken,” Museveni said.
The letter is copied to the Prime Minister, the Minister of Finance and the Attorney General.
In January of 2018, the President wrote to the Prime Minister outlining possible interventions of revamping UTL.
In the letter titled ‘Revamping Uganda Telecom Limited’, Museveni directed that all debt owed to government departments and agencies should be converted into shares held by Uganda Development Corporation (UDC).
“As far as the internet services are concerned, all government agencies and departments are directed to only use the channel in which UTL has shares”.
He also proposed that UTL be encouraged to partner with the Chinese company that intended to make mobile phones in Uganda.
“They can be encouraged to use the local minerals such as coltan which i understand are crucial for making telephones”.
Museveni also said UTL network should be revamped and used to restore government data.