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UTL accused of misusing funds, blocking finance audit

Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL) under close eye for misusing funds. (PHOTO/File)

KAMPALA – Members of Parliament have in today’s (Thursday) Plenary Sitting, raised concerns on the way business is handled at Uganda Telecom Company Ltd (UTL). MPs say there are allegations faulting UTL for misusing funds and that the company is making financial losses.

Additionally, It was noted that UTL does not adhere to the rules and regulations of the Uganda Communication Commission (UCC).

The State Minister for Investment and Privatization, Evelyn Anite says the Finance Ministry is aware of the ‘rot’ at UTL but that the Telecom Company has blocked Ministry of Finance from auditing its books of accounts.

Ms. Anite says the Auditor General was contacted to audit UTL but declined under the pretext that ‘it is a court led case.

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga has reiterated that Parliament will study the law to ascertain whether the Auditor General acted lawfully. She said she will make a ruling on the matter during the Sitting of Tuesday, June 25, 2019.

In April this year, the government was searching for a fresh investor to take up UTL’s operations, after it parted ways with Taleology, a Nigerian telecom company.

According to Ms. Anite, the Cabinet was looking for a new investor to take up UTL after Taleology did not honour its part of the bargain.

In October 2018, the Cabinet handed UTL to Taleology, bringing an end to a competition for the state-owned telecom now branding itself as an ICT network.

Ms. Anite said Taleology did not honour its part of the deal which was to make a non-refundable 10 per cent payment, in this case, USD 7 million within a month from the date of the offer and then the balance three months later.

UTL, formerly under Libyan government ownership through UCOM, went under after the Libyan government, who were the majority shareholders, pulled out of the troubled telecom.

The Libyan government had a 69 percent stake in UTL while the government of Uganda held 31 percent.

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