RUGUNDA INTERVENES IN UTL WAR AS MPS MOVE TO AMEND INSOLVENCY LAW
By Mulengera Reporters
Desiring to prevent an escalation of bitter exchanges between Investments Minister Evelyn Anite and officials of the AG chambers especially Mwesigwa Rukutana, Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda has called for a meeting slated for tomorrow to try and talk the two parties out of animosity.
The meeting, according to reliable sources, is slated for tomorrow and all parties concerned with the UTL dispute (that has seen top officials exchange bitterly) are expected to attend and work out modalities to deescalate.
During the Monday cabinet meeting, it was expected the matter would be discussed but it was avoided because the President was out of the country yet many feared to give their views before knowing his stand.
As Rugunda organizes his de-escalation meeting, some MPs have expressed dissatisfaction with some of the provision of the Insolvency law saying it gives lots of protection to the administrator including being immune to mandatory audits during the administration period. “This is Uganda and the law must always be subordinated to politics because its enacted to serve the people who elect as the politicians. I’m moving a private members bill to have that law amended so that accountability is a must at all times,” ranted an MP from Eastern Uganda as he went about mobilizing other colleagues to begin galvanizing NRM caucus members’ opinion around the issue of amendment.
“We have the numbers as NRM and once consensus is built, we can amend that law in a very short time and have a fairer more equitable situation in place. There is no way anyone involved with public funds can be immune to being audited. That would be recipe for disaster,” the MP added. He further claimed this is the only way to empower the executive to always intervene because its hands currently are legally tied in the UTL situation.
But an influential city lawyer who declined being quoted told Mulengera News the MPs need to understand the efficacy of any law lies in its capacity to inconvenience some people preventing them from always getting their way and that changing the law so often just because of a temporary inconvenience isn’t good practice.
This development by the MPs comes at a time when influential scribe Andrew Mwenda too has been approached by some people urging him to meet the President and lobby him to pronounce himself on the UTL crisis or issue some remedial executive orders to return things to normalcy.
Meanwhile some MPs are also preparing to move Parliament to call for a pre-UTL administration period-like inquiry into the Liquidation Account on which all monies resulting from state-owned company’s liquidation are supposed to be deposited. They are demanding to know why such money is never deposited on the consolidated fund and is instead kept in Stanbic and Standard Chartered bank. They are wondering why the AG John Muwanga or even the Finance Ministry have never conducted a single audit into the operations of that account. The position is the OAG is legally barred from inquiry into such accounts for the protection of creditors’ interests who take precedence once a company goes under.
Some MPs also want Museveni’s lawyer Kiwanuka Kiryowa to once again play a leading role as he did at the commencement of the administration period as the legal representative of PWC whose audit advisory is what guided government on how to proceed after herding out the old management team at UTL. That for three days the Finance and Justice Ministry officials failed to build consensus on how to proceed with UTL.
Justice officials preferred liquidation to which Kiryowa and his PWC clients vehemently objected. In the end, Museveni got involved by convening a meeting in Entebbe where he listened to the PWC views and directed UTL should be resuscitated rather than liquidated. The Kiryowas, after defeating government lawyers in the Museveni meeting, subsequently played vital roles in ensuring Caneo Tech’ court application calling for liquidation (as a creditor) was dismissed by Justice Lydia Mugambe. It’s very likely that being extremely busy with too much work and fear to be seen as getting involved in so many things (and thereby causing perception problems for the President) have combined to keep the otherwise very outspoken KK away from the UTL war theatre for now. (For comments, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org).