In her latest push for the exit of the official receiver, Bemanya Twebaze out of UTL, State Minister for Privatization and Investment, Evelyn Anite has written to the President reporting the Attorney General for failing to heed her call – filing a petition to court for the removal of Bemanya.
This week, Anite wrote to the Attorney General, William Byaruhanga arguing that government has encountered considerable difficulty dealing with the Administrator and has completely lost confidence in his ability to continue to serve the role of UTL Administrator.
She said a decision had been taken to remove Bemanya as the current Administrator of UTL and to immediately replace him with an individual that the Ministry will indicate.
As such she asked the government lawyer to urgently apply to court to replace Bemanya within the context of section 172 of the Insolvency Act, 2011 and the Insolvency Regulations (161 (1)).
However, in response, Deputy Attorney General, Mwesigwa Rukutana warned Anite to cease interference into the administration of the telecom.
Rukutana says continue interference risks attracting liability to government since it could inhibit sourcing of a viable investor.
In the latest development, Minister Anite has written to President Yoweri Museveni explaining her basis of replacing Bemanya, and that the opinion offered by Rukukata is flawed.
“Whereas Mr. Bemanya availed progress reports on the Administration, he has not availed us with an update for over 8 months, and today, I do not know what is happening in the Company. The progress reports provided by the Administrator informed the update I provided to you and Cabinet,” Anite informs the President in her June 28 letter.
She adds that the communications regulator, UCC, has also raised related concerns including failure to connect UTL to the Intelligence Network Monitoring System (UCC). This, Anite says, “can make the UTL a potential conduit for all fraudulent calls, transactions in the sector and could expose the country to security risks”.
The Minister also informs Museveni that the Board of Trustees of Uganda Communications Employees Contributory Pension Scheme have also lost confidence in Bemanya and have threatened to sue him for breach of the Deed of Administration and trust.
Anite maintains that the view by the Deputy Attorney General that she is interfering in the Administration of UTL is not true.
“The success of the Administration cannot be guaranteed without the support of Government which is the lone shareholder authorized to lawfully sign resolutions on behalf of the Company”.
According to Anite, there is no law that stops the Auditor General from auditing the Company “because this is good for the Company and the country”.
“The insinuation by the Administrator that UTL cannot be audited by virtue of being in Administration is wrong and not supported by any law”.
“Your Excellency, whereas Government is enjoined to follow the advice of the Attorney General, we are disturbed that his conclusions on this matter raise more questions, and especially contradict the policy guidance I received from you regarding the removal of Mr. Bemanya, as UTL Administrator”.
She informed the President that she has lost confidence in the current Administrator, and she is convinced that he can no longer effectively perform the role. Anite says potential replacements have been identified.
“The Attorney General should therefore heed to our request to promptly file the relevant petition, without further delay. My conviction is further fortified by the guidance contained in your letter to the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister dated 9th January 2018, which I am enclosing for your ease of reference”.
“The purpose of this letter, Your Excellency, is to bring the above developments to your attention and to seek your further guidance considering that I am convinced that the opinion of the Deputy Attorney General is fundamentally flawed and a misinterpretation of the law”.
She says she has appealed to the Attorney General to review the position and will seek your audience on the matter.
Anite yesterday wrote to the Attorney General William Byaruhanga disregarding his Deputy Rukutana’s legal counsel to Government on administration of UTL. She stated that she had not sought the Attorney General’s opinion but instructed him to file an application that would lead to the replacement of Bemanya.
“I received a completely offside reply from the Deputy Attorney General. I candidly instructee you as a Government lawyer to urgently apply to Court yo replace the current Administrator,” Anite’s letter reads.
It is not clear why Anite imagines that the Deputy Attorney General’s advice to government is not substantive or that Mwesigwa Rukutana cannot act on behalf of the Deputy Attorney General William Byaruhanga who was away in China for other duties.