Kampala: The former head of the national broadcaster this afternoon appears in court to face multiple charges of embezzlement abuse of office and causing financial loss to the government.
Paul Kihika allegedly committed the crimes when he was managing director at Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC). By press time he was being transferred Jinja Road Police Station to the Anti-Corruption Court in Kololo.
Kihika is being investigated over a litany of scandals that haunted the national broadcaster under his management.
Among the cases being investigated include the alleged embezzlement abuse of office, false accounting, causing financial loss and conspiracy to commit a felony while executing a UBC-Airtel deal between 2013 and 2014.
It is suspected that Kihika may have siphoned off partial payments made by Airtel, a telecom company, to sponsor live broadcast on UBC of the 2014 World Cup matches.
He allegedly allowed the irregular transfer of this money to different accounts.
Kihika is also accused of entering into an illegal partnership with Star Times Television to broadcast the matches.
This was just two weeks after President Museveni’ s personal intervention ensured Ugandans watched the games played in Brazil on free to air television.
More than a month before the start of the tournament, the African Union of Broadcasters informed all its members to desist from entering any partnerships with StarTimes because of contractual obligations with the global body FIFA.
Despite the warning, UBC continued airing the matches right from the opening day while carrying the StarTimes logo. It was later established that UBC had quietly partnered with StarTimes in a deal worth at least Shs 200 million.
Before the World Cup scandal broke, the same former manager had been named in several other murky dealings. A few years before he was fired, the Inspector General of Government Irene Mulyagonja wrote to him, directing that he return Shs 38 million to the corporation.
She accused Kihika of drawing a double salary from both the Ministry of Gender and UBC where he was managing director.
Mulyagonja also said Kihika was abusing his powers at UBC, including dismissing and recruiting new employees and using the corporation’s fuel for his personal interests. Kihika denied the charges.
The IGG would later write to President Museveni, saying, “the manner in which UBC has been managed by Mr [Paul] Kihika falls short of what is required by the UBC Act and procurement laws.”
She accused Kihika of incompetence, favouritism and failure to stem the financial malaise at the national broadcaster.