UETCL board chair resigns amid alleged rot at firm

Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Ltd (UETCL) chairman Board of Directors, Mr Peter Ucanda, has resigned from his job. Photo | Courtesy

What you need to know:

  • This newspaper investigated alleged institutional mismanagement by UETCL board of directors, which has led to the resignation of the company’s boss.

The Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Ltd (UETCL) chairman Board of Directors, Mr Peter Ucanda, has resigned from his job citing what he called negative media reports that have soiled his hard-earned reputation and that of the company.

In a March 21 letter to the Finance, Energy, and Privatisation and Investment ministries, Mr Ucanda indicated that he was stepping down as the chairman Board of Directors of UETCL to ‘save his image from being tainted by such media reports’ about the company’s alleged misdeeds.

READ: Politics, nepotism rear ugly head at UETCL 

“I am constrained to do this because of the manner in which the investigations into the causes of disagreements into the affairs of the board, which has resulted in several and diverse false reports appearing in the press. This does not give me confidence,” his letter states in part.

He said he was unhappy to see his good record of serving the country dragged in the mud.

“I have served the Ugandan government for more than 50 years with what I consider to be a clean and successful record. It is, therefore, my duty to protect this record.”

Between February 27 and March 19, Saturday and Sunday Monitor papers published three special reports, a product of an intensive investigation into alleged institutional mismanagement by the company’s top organ, the Board of Directors chaired by Mr Ucanda.

Monitor investigation

On February 27, the Sunday Monitor ran a special report on how politics, nepotism had spelled doom at UETCL characterised by emerging accounts of corruption and maladministration casting a shadow over activities at the power transmission company.

 The investigation into the alleged flaws in the managerial and oversight operations of the country’s energy transmitter also exposed gross recruitment irregularities and fraudulent deals allegedly orchestrated by the company’s human resource (HR) department.

Evidence seen by Sunday Monitor reveals that the company’s senior management—including those sitting on the Board of Directors—flouted recruitment protocols to fix their children, friends and relatives into key positions at the company.

 Sunday Monitor, on March 6, ran a special report that revealed how the UETCL board got red flags flying.

The investigation into allegations of fraud, witch-hunt, and blackmail against the UETCL Board of Directors exposed how the vices have impaired the energy transmitter’s operations in the past decades.

However, on March 19, Saturday Monitor published part of the report which exposed how conniving officials left UETCL Shs564 billion poorer.

The report illuminated connivance between UETCL project staff and project-affected people to defraud the energy transmitter via bogus compensation claims.

 Parliament probe

The alleged mismanagement at UETCL has already attracted the concerns of Parliament. On March 17, the MPs on the Committee of Environment and Natural Resources, during an interface with the board members of UETCL, probed them over allegations of mismanagement and corruption.

Committee chairperson Emmanuel Otaala expressed concern about the mismanagement of the company resulting from a divided board of directors.

  “The media has painted a picture of fusion in roles between a part of the board and management leading to misappropriation of resources, double payment of project affected persons and payment of people holding land titles in wetlands,’’ he said.

 Mr Otaala, however, demanded that UETCL should provide the committee with a comprehensive report regarding the controversial payment of Shs28 billion to project affected persons on the Namanve-Luzira land for the construction of the 132KV transmission line.

 Mr Dickson Kateshumbwa, a member of the committee, demanded that UETCL is thoroughly investigated and boundaries set to distinguish the roles of the board and management to cure the administrative friction.

 However, Ms Evelyn Anite, the State minister for Privatisation, who led the delegation from UETCL, pledged to resolve the impasse at the company, including allegations of corruption and the rift within the board.