A whistleblower has written to the Anti-corruption Unit and the Inspector General of Government (IGG) asking that State Minister for Privatization and Investment, Evelyn Anite, be investigated on allegations that she secretly travelled to Mauritius on a mission to irregularly seal the deal for a UTL strategic investor.
The whistleblower contends that the motive, timing and nature of Anite’s discreet trip to Mauritius are very suspect, given the circumstances surrounding the insolvent UTL.
This is contained in a letter authored by an anonymous whistleblower and which is addressed to the Anti-corruption Unit and the IGG. Both letters, copies of which SoftPower News has managed to see were officially received on August 14.
The whistleblower accuses Minister Anite of influence peddling, abuse of office, corruption and conduct unbecoming of a Minister and Honorable Member of Parliament.
The author makes reference to a letter dated July 12, 2019 in which Minister for Privatization and Investment, Evelyn Anite sought leave from the Prime Minister from July 16 to August 12, to travel to the United States for graduation after completion of Masters of Arts in International Relations and Diplomacy at Tuft University.
The whistle blower reveals that the Minister traveled aboard KLM Airline in company of her husband, to the U,S from Entebbe on July 15.
According to the whistleblower, after graduation and commencement of her short study at Harvard, a secret booking was made for her from USA via France to Mauritius, leaving her husband in the U.S.
The said trip was reportedly not booked in Uganda before her departure for USA. The whistleblower further states that in Mauritius, she met with the team responsible for ensuring this deal happens and they acquire UTL at a much less value than the asset value estimated at USD 84m. She later flew back to the USA and back to Uganda to disguise her trip to Mauritius.
The letter further makes reference to “confessions” made by Minister Anite in the media that her point of departure with the UTL Administrator, Bemanya Twebaze was because Bemanya had offered the UTL deal to Teleology (which had offered USD 70m) compared to Mauritius Telecom Limited which had offered USD 40m.
“Please note that the offer to Teleology was a Cabinet decision to which she is part and bound by the collective responsibility requirement”.
The whistleblower also cites a recently reported trip that officials from Mauritius Telecom made to Kampala. Apparently, the officials had piled pressure on the Minister to close the deal. It is at the same time that Anite launched a campaign in the media to have Bemanya removed from being the Administrator and branded colleagues in cabinet as mafia.
“Indeed sources close to the Honorable Minister indicate that the assets she acquired soon after her dealings with Mauritius Telecom are not commensurate to her earnings as Member of Parliament and junior Minister,” says the whistleblower.
“I find her conduct tantamounting to influence peddling, abuse of office, corruption and conduct unbecoming of a Minister and Honorable Member of Parliament. I have reliable information that Hon Anite secretly left the USA around 4th August 2019 and travelled to Mauritius via France”.
The writer adds that Anite arrived in Mauritius on Monday 5 August 2019 where she spent about four days meeting with Mauritius Telecom officials.
“What was the purpose of her mission, if it was not sealing the illicit deal?”
As such, the whistleblower has asked the IGG and Anti-corruption Unit of State House to verify Anite’s secret mission in Mauritius, the timing (given that the trip followed the officials’ visit to Uganda and coincides with the crisis at UTL).
LThe concerned individual (s) further asks that the Unit probes into who paid Anite’s ticket, which of her passports (Official and Diplomatic) she used and why she did not declare her intended destination to the Prime Minister.
The letter also asks for an investigation to understand Anite’s personal interests and why she continued handling official duties on leave including writing and signing letters pertaining to UTL matters even when she had left Hon David Bahati to handle her official duties.
In the said letters, says the whistleblower, Anite was writing to the Attorney General, Internal Auditor General as well as the Secretary to the Treasury.
‘All her other official matters were handled by Hon Bahati except UTL matters in which she has personal interests. This was irregular considering she was officially on leave.
The whistleblower also faults the Minister, who is bound by cabinet decisions, of challenging the same decisions (approval of Teleology which was the highest bidder) on the floor of parliament.
“Following the RT Honorable Speaker’s ruling, she went ahead on social and mainstream media to discuss and challenge a Cabinet decision, this behavior is unconstitutional and contrary to the rules of procedure of Parliament and contravenes collective responsibility,” adds the letter to the Anti-corruption Unit.
“Further, the language and tone of her letters written in official capacity addressing her Senior colleagues undermines their offices and sets a bad precedent on how to conduct government business. Making unsubstantiated allegations against a Government she represents is unacceptable. The Minister should therefore be held responsible for this conduct and discipline”.
The author of the letter also faults Anite for personally leaking official correspondents on social networks like WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook, wondering if this is how government conducts its business.
When contacted, Munira Ali, the spokesperson of the IGG’s Office told SoftPower News that the office received a petition on Wednesday relating to issues of UTL. However, she could not divulge details.
As to whether the IGG will probe the allegations, Munira initially, said “Yes, we received a petition yesterday. I can not confirm what is going to happen because we got the petition just yesterday”.
Later, on consulting, she said preliminary inquiries have been launched.
“The petition relates to UTL. The IGG has launched preliminary inquiries which shall determine whether or not we can investigate,” Munira said.
Since June this year, Anite has written several correspondences in a bid to pile pressure on the Office of the Attorney General to have the Official Receiver, Bemanya Twebaze removed from his position as Administrator of UTL.
But this was objected first by the Office of the Attorney General, the Auditor General and Ministry of Finance who said the removal of Bemanya can only be sanctioned by court. They also warned that interference into the administration of the telecom risks attracting liability to government since it could inhibit sourcing of a viable investor.