By Mulengera Reporters
Investment Minister Evelyn Anite has dared UTL Administrator (also Executive Director URSB) Twebaze Bemanya to justify the good track record of incorruptibility he claims to have by accepting to be subjected to an audit.
Responding to remarks Bemanya made on Friday at UTL headquarters where he told reporters he has a good track record against which the Minister’s and MPs’ UTL corruption allegations can be measured, Anite said “people who have nothing to worry about their track record welcome audits because it’s the best way to exonerate oneself.”
Anite said as the immediate political supervisor of the UTL recovery process, she was increasingly becoming suspicious as to why the Administrator was hostile to the idea of being audited by the Auditor General or even the Finance Ministry’s Internal Auditor whose efforts were frustrated. “We reached a point of saying okay if the relevant laws don’t permit an audit at this point in time, let’s have a review into what has been happening and Bemanya still refused. Where does that happen? How do you handle public funds and yet aren’t subject to audit?” Anite said referencing on what the Auditor General John Muwanga told Sunday Monitor regarding UTL.
She told Mulengera News she was increasingly becoming uncomfortable with the URSB boss “because his insubordination hasn’t stopped on us as Finance Ministers but also the President on issues like the One Stop Center which is being duplicated yet it’s supposed to be only at UIA.” She added: “As the line Minister I’m waiting for the Speaker’s ruling on Tuesday and suggest we look into even other entities that have undergone similar administration regime like Uganda Telecom because it seems they have equally been getting away with it.”
Anite said she was interested in having the audit because it’s the only way to establish what happened to the Shs1.7bn NITA-Uganda handed over to the UTL management at the time the President and PSST Keith Muhakanizi forced them to surrender the 380 MDAs whose internet needs they had been supplying. She says there is another Shs10bn that became payable by NITA after the two entities held meetings and reconciled what was due. She adds its only through audit that the authenticity of the figure UTL management says is what they have monthly been collecting from MDAs for internet provision can be verified.
She denies claims that she is the one who is complicated as a person wondering why UCC is equally aggrieved with UTL administration team in its (UCC’s) two capacities as a regulator and creditor. She is also disputing the circumstances under which the UTL administration period was extended beyond May when it was supposed to finally come to an end and was instead prolonged up to 22nd November. The extension occurred when Gabriel Ajedra was the acting Finance Minister in the absence of Matia Kasaija.
Anite also says it’s not true that the Finance Ministers weren’t ready to interface with Bemanya last Wednesday when they had called him for a meeting at the Ministry about the UTL issue. Bemanya told reporters on Friday that he interfaced with PSST Keith Muhakanizi who fully understood the circumstances under which the administration team is operating and why it’s premature to have any audit now.
But Anite disputes this saying what PSST communicated to the Ministers was merely what Bemanya told him (why UTL legally can’t be audited now). “This was never the PSST’s personal views or thinking on the situation,” Anite said in the Mulengera News interview.
She says the meeting was slated for 8:30am but Bemanya left before 9am saying he had other pre-fixed engagements and briefed PSST about what he intended to say in the meeting. “It’s not because anybody delayed him or delayed to start the meeting. It was just his choice to confide in the PSST as opposed to coming for the meeting with us the Ministers.” She says she will be using the Tuesday plenary in Parliament to push for establishment of a new order at ULT, a company Bemanya says remains heavily indebted.
The administrator, who referring to the law has vowed to stay put up to 22nd November, says the manner in which the administration team has been demonized by politicians in Parliament can only complicate efforts to source for a credible investor to inject the billions required to resuscitate the company. (For comments, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org).