By Mulengera Reporters
The Registrar General of Uganda, who is also the administrator currently running UTL Twebaze Bemanya, has shot back at his line Minister and political supervisor Evelyn Anite saying his track record is too impeccable for him to steal UTL cash in a manner MPs described the Thursday plenary session.
Addressing reporters on Friday at UTL headquarters specifically to respond to claims MPs made that the administrator had grown too powerful to the extent of blocking all efforts to have his activities audited, Bemanya said nothing would be further from the truth.
He said UTL in it’s current state is shielded by law not to be subjected to auditing similar to what Anite told Parliament the administrator was blocking.
Saying it’s understandable for many to misunderstand what’s happening at UTL largely because the insolvency law, under which he operates is fairly a new thing that many don’t yet understand, Bemanya said even the Auditor General, who Matia Kasaija had directed to carry out audit, understood it wasn’t appropriate to subject the struggling company to an audit at this point in time.
He said PSST Keith Muhakanizi and other technocrats at the Finance Ministry understand what’s happening and they have nothing but commendations for the good job the administration team has done so far amidst alot of difficulties.
He said he has been having meetings to abreast the PSST and he fully understands what’s going on. He challenged journalists to actually ring PSST and see if he won’t corroborate his version of events. He said the administration period is a technical matter which is correctly understood by technical people and not by everyone.
Bemanya, who was careful to avoid open confrontation with Anite, run through the milestones his administration team has accomplished including forcing the cost of internet to government MDAs from $300/Mbps of pre-adiministration era to the current $70/Mbps. He didn’t explain how UTL has exactly done this.
He also said some of the things uttered during the Thursday Parliamentary session were infactual including the amount being made monthly and the general state of affairs at the company regarding especially HR practices and staff welfare. He also despised calls on him to get out of the UTL administration.
He said he is there legally and notwithstanding what the Minister said in Parliament, the UTL shareholder who is the Finance Ministry is happy with what he has done so far.
He said he was continuing to act accountably by reporting to court and creditors every 6 months as required by law. He said the appropriate time for the audit to be conducted would be after 22nd November when the administration period officially ends.
He said his team had ressucitated UTL and made it attractive to potential investors now offering as much as $100m which wasn’t the case before. He recalled one investor who offered $1 at the start of the administration period.
Mistapha Ntale, an insolvency expert who flanked Bemanya, sarcastically said if the administration team members are indeed mafias as some MPs described them, then they must be wonderful mafias to have accomplished so much without getting any external funding beyond what is being internally generated.
Bemanya explained the monthly revenue for the company (from mostly internet and other telecom services sales) had stagnated at an average of Shs4.2bn. He said the poor network (operating a 2G against the competitors’ 4G) and lack of funds to generally invest in the company had crippled all efforts aimed at making things better.
Asked whether he was a corrupt administrator presiding over an equally corrupt team as painted by MPs and Anite during the Thursday plenary, Bemanya said his record speaks for itself. He said to understand the transformative selfless leadership he stands for, one has to just reflect on where he found URSB and what he has turned it into.
He said as of 2012 when he first took charge, URSB’ annual revenue stood at Shs5bn which has since grown to over Shs54bn as of last year. He braggingly said the Shs54bn accomplishment was against the mere Shs41.4bn target his supervisors had set for him.
“I don’t become corrupt because someone paints me so or thinks I should be. Its my track record and actions that must speak for me. And my impeccable track record speaks for itself,” Bemanya said.
Once again referencing on the UTL situation, Bemanya said if he was corrupt there is no way he would have spearheaded sweeping reforms which have saved billions for struggling UTL.
He said when he became administrator in April 2017, in place was the company’s indebtness that stood at Shs900bn which upon audit verification diminished to Shs530bn. This instantly saved Shs420bn which he said he would have connived with fictitious creditors to share if indeed he was the fraudulent actor MPs painted.
That the other area he would have fleeced the company if he indeed was fraudulent was the asset value which his predecessors had put at $40m which, upon verification, was discovered to actually be standing at $84m. He said his predecessors had deliberately under declared the assets value and had almost succeeded if it wasn’t for his intervention.
The company assets (totalling to $84m) include shareholding WIOCC (a submarine cable company); land; buildings; machinery; equipment; good will and spectrum.
He added that he was being motivated to soldier on because his supervisors/shareholders (the Finance Ministry) and creditors greatly appreciate what he has done amidst all the adversity that his team has faced including being shunned by financial institutions and banks whenever they seek loans because they work for a company many falsely perceived as closing anytime.