Why Ex-Law Society President Ssebatindira Was Appointed UTL Boss

The High Court in Kampala has appointed Ms Ruth Sebatindira, the former President of the Uganda Law Society (ULS) as the new Administrator of Uganda Telecom Limited-(UTL).

Sebatindira replaces Bemanya Twebaze whose contract expired in November 2019.

The decision follows an application filed on December 17, 2019, by the Uganda Contribution Employees Contributory Pension Scheme (UCECPS) through their lawyers led by Johnson Kwesigabo.

They sought orders compelling Bemanya Twebaze to be removed from office and replaced with an eligible Insolvency Practitioner.

The applicants faulted Bemanya for failing to collect the outstanding amounts due to UTL from the government and its departments in terms of the Deed of Administration and failure to find an investor to recapitalize and operate the Telecom.

Bemanya was also faulted for failing to pay in full all claims against UTL within the Administration time and to conclude the Administration within the period stipulated.

The government is the biggest creditor of UTL with a bill of more than Shs207 billion.

In a summarized judgement delivered on Thursday morning, Justice Lydia Mugambe of the Civil Division of the High Court noted that Ssebatindira is a qualified and registered Insolvency Practitioner possessing sufficient experience and expertise to safeguard the interests of all creditors of the company.

The appointment of an Administrator lies in the jurisdiction of court and the same has powers to look at the list of all licensed Insolvency Practitioners and exercise its discretion to appoint a legible administrator.

Bemanya equally had no objections to appointing anyone competent to replace him, according to the defence put before the court by Bemanya’s lawyer Mr Mustafa Ntale.
“That nonetheless, I have no objection to the appointment of a competent person to act as an Administrator of UTL and I am ready to handover to such appointed person guided by this Honorable Court,” said Bemanya in his affidavit.

He also noted that he did his best as an administrator but only failed to achieve what was expected of him, not because of his inefficiency but that some Processes take longer.

Last year, State Minister for Investment Evelyn Minister Anite told parliament that Twebaze had reportedly blocked the Auditor General John Muwanga and the finance ministry from auditing the company, saying he can only report to the court. She added that the government, which holds 31 per cent shares in UTL, had lost control over the telecom company.

Twebaze, who is also the Registrar General of Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB), was appointed Administrator of UTL following the exit of Ucom Limited, a Libyan firm that owned 69 per cent shares of the Telecom. He entered into an Administration Deed and the shareholders ceded to him all their powers to run the company.urnw

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