KAMPALA – The war of words between government officials over Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL) has escalated after a concerned citizen petitioned the Inspector General of Government (IGG), accusing the Attorney General, the Deputy Attorney General and Secretary to the Treasury of deliberately blocking the auditing of the defunct government telecom because of having vested interests.
In a letter dated August 19 to the IGG, the petition, Mr Davidson Ssemwanga, wondered why Mr William Byaruhanga, Mr Mwesigwa Rukutana and Mr Keith Muhakanizi are opposed to the audit of UTL.
He argued that this shows they have vested interests in the defunct company, which they do not want the auditors to unearth.
“IGG, what has been bothering me and other citizens of Uganda is why public officials would be disagreeing to an audit. The only logic is that they are hiding something. These people have been at the center of most liquidated public assets in their lifetime of public service,” Mr Ssemwanga’s letter reads in part.
He added that the audit comes at a time when the officials have accumulated a lot of wealth beyond what they earn.
“For example, Rukutana owns companies that export labour out of Uganda to the Middle East and Asia. Many girls exported by his companies have exploited and their rights abused. In fact, Mr. Rukutana owns 5 arcades, 6 storied apartments in Zana and 2 houses in Kololo. Keith Muhakanizi owns 5 storied apartments in Bukoto, 4 in Naguru and 3 houses in Germany where he was staying as he got treatment recently and 2 houses in Mbarara,” he said.
“Also Keith Muhakanzi owns in total 50 Square miles of land/farm. William Byaruhanga has bought land in front of his Rwenzori courts buildings. He wants his law firm to manage UTL affairs. I thank you for standing firm against the corrupt Madam IGG,” he added.
The IGG spokesperson, Ms Munira Ali, confirmed receipt of the letter.
The letter comes days after a whistleblower asked the Inspector General of Government (IGG) to conduct a thorough investigation into what he described as secretive dealings by Investment Minister Evelyn Anite over the management of Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL).
In a letter dated August 16, the whistleblower claims that Ms Anite made a suspicious, impromptu trip to Mauritius, ostensibly to strike a deal with a company there that wants to take over UTL.
Ms Anite recently travelled to the US for her graduation ceremony after completion of her Masters in Arts in International Relations and Diploma at Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.
However, the whistleblower claims that the minister later secretively connected from US via France to Mauritius.
“The said trip to Mauritius was not booked in Uganda before her departure for the USA. In Mauritius, she met with the team responsible for ensuring this deal happens and they acquire UTL at a much less than the asset value estimated at $84 million,” the petition to the IGG’s office reads in part.
As a result, the whistleblower says Ms Anite is engaged in influence peddling, abuse of office and corruption.
The whistleblower in his letter demands that the IGG investigates and verify the timing of the alleged trip to Mauritius by Anite and the earlier visit by Mauritius telecom officials to Uganda.
Uganda Telecom Limited was in May 2017 put under administration after Libyans, who owned 69% of the shares left at a time when the company had a Shs700b debt.
Early this year, the government kicked out Teleology Holdings Limited from Nigeria for failure to pay Shs268 billion within three months of being awarded the UTL deal as had been agreed by both parties.