Budadiri West lawmaker, Nandala Mafabi has backed State Minister for Investment, Evelyn Anite in the ongoing fight over management of troubled Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL); saying people running the telecom firm are simply milking it to death.
In an interview at Parliament, Mafabi said that Anite is on the right truck at ensuring Ugandans take possession of UTL.
“We wanted UTL to survive because every country needs its own Telecom [firm] where they can do their work…Government has the capacity to pay those creditors. So for somebody to say we want to liquidate the company because the creditors aren’t being paid, I am sure a single shareholder who is even the biggest creditor has capacity to pay those creditors,” Mafabi, who is also the Secretary General of Forum for Democratic Change, said.
He castigated the UTL Administr, Twebaze Bemanya for failing to accept an audit has left suspicions that UTL is being used as a cash cow.
“The people who have been running UTL have been using it as a milk cow, they eat it every day. All those you are seeing supporting the guy who is there (Bemanya), how do you refuse accountability, I can’t see it. How do you run UTL, a public company under that manner? They don’t want to account and yet every Government company where you are sure there is a customer under monopoly, I can’t believe that,” Mafabi added.
Asked on how the UTL debacle can be resolved, Mafabi said; “I am sure Government will get a solution for that. What Anite is doing is long overdue. We hope the President will deal with those people who are trying to allow this company stolen by a few individuals. This Administrator brought an investor and for one year, the investor didn’t even bring a single dollar.”
On the fight between Anite and Attorney General Chambers, Mafabi supported the Minister saying she was within her right to order the Attorney General to file a case and questioned Deputy Attorney General, Mwesigwa Rukutana’s allegiance to Uganda.
Mafabi said there is a lot of crisis in UTL and Government needs to have its own Telecom especially security to do their work.
“The only place they can go to is a place where they have shares that is UTL. UTL is a strategic asset for the country. Anite is right and the Attorney General to say that he can’t be directed; Ministry of Finance has one issue that one of the assets of Government is being mismanaged, she has asked you go to court, whether the case is bad or good, you don’t come and say no I can’t go,” Mafabi said
He added; “If I was the appointing authority, that is the highest level of insubordination and I would have taken action. You see Rukutana would have been fired because he is no longer representing our interests, let him go and represent the interests of his people. Whose interests is the Attorney General representing?”
It should be noted that Mafabi was the first person to bring to the attention of Ugandans the predicament of UTL when he tabled before Parliament a dossier detailing the anarchy at UTL in November 2016.
He detailed the mismanagement at UTL characterized by asset stripping, insider trading and a skyrocketing debt eating into the company’s coffers.
Nandala alleged that as UTL was choking in debts of Shs669.6bn, top bosses including then UTL Managing Director, Mark Shoebridge, Finance Director, James Wilde, Board Members David Nambaale, Stephen Kaboyo and Moses Mwase were making millions of payments in salaries at the expense of the collapsing Telecom Company.
Speaker Rebecca Kadaga constituted a Committee that established truth to Mafabi’s allegations and recommended Government’s repossession of UTL.