KAMPALA – The Uganda Law Society (ULS) has weighed in on the war of words between Investment minister Evelyn Anite and the Attorney General’s office over the position of Mr Bemanya Twebaze as the administrator of the highly indebted Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL).
According to ULS, the Minister has no legal authority to order the Attorney General to apply to court for the removal of Mr Twebaze.
“Under our laws, no minister has the mandate of power to order the Attorney General to undertake any action. The Attorney General in his capacity as the principal legal advisor of the government under article 119 of the Constitution may deem any act inappropriate or out rightly illegal,” Mr Simon Peter Kinobe, the ULS President, said in a statement issued on Saturday.
“ULS therefore agrees with the Attorney General that the grounds for the removal of the administrator are specific under section 174(1) ( c ) of the Access to Information Act and that Hon Anite has presented none in this case,” he added.
The lawyers’ body also noted that Ms Anite as a finance minister and shareholder in UTL cannot be held out as a supervisor of the administrator of the insolvent company.
The Uganda Law Society also warned cabinet ministers on how they behave towards each other noting that anyone holding a public office should conduct themselves in accordance with the expected level of decorum and in a manner that does not erode confidence that the public has in them.
Anite on Friday wrote to President Museveni in regards the ongoing saga at the struggling Uganda Telecom Limited.
In the letter, , Anite told Museveni that despite a directive from him to ask the Attorney General take action in regards the replacement of Bemanya Twebaze as the administrator for UTL, the same has not been heeded to.
She said refusal by Bemanya to vacate office is against the noble cause of reviving the telecom company adding that it was wrong for the Attorney General to support the refusal.
“Your excellency, whereas government is enjoined to follow the advice of the Attorney General, we are disturbed that his conclusions on this matter raise more questions and especially contradict the policy guidance I received from you regarding the removal of Mr. Bemanya,” Anite said.
“The purpose of this letter your excellency is to bring the above developments to your attention and to seek for your further guidance considering that I am convinced that the opinion of the Deputy Attorney General is fundamentally flawed and misinterpretation of the law.”
Deputy Attorney General Mwesigwa Rukutana last week said the removal of an administrator (Bemanya) from office requires that a creditor would be the person listed as competent to apply to the court to remove an administrator from office.
“Whereas some government entities may be listed creditors, they have separate legal status. Accordingly, a shareholder in this instance, the Minister of Finance Planning and Economic Development has no locus to apply to the court to remove the administrator from office,” Rukutana said in a June 28 letter.
However, in response, Anite said a cartel in government circles that wants to take over assets of the struggling Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL), is frustrating her efforts to sack Twebaze.