UETCL dismissed board members seek same jobs
What you need to know:
- On March 15, Mr Kasaija invited the board members to discuss the disagreements within the company following press reports. At that meeting, Ms Irumba said the former chairman, Mr Peter Ucanda, did not lay bare the ideal matters at the firm.
A section of members of the disbanded Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Ltd (UETCL) board have petitioned the Finance minister, Mr Matia Kasaija, over unlawful termination.
A source at the Finance ministry, who spoke to this newspaper at the weekend on condition of anonymity, said they have received petition letters from two of the six members.
“There are so far two protest letters, one from Mr Abdon Atwine and another from Ms Sarah Irumba Muhumuza, who have questioned the manner of their termination and now seek reinstatement to the same board,” the source said.
This newspaper was unable to access Mr Atwine’s letter, but saw the one signed by Ms Irumba to Mr Kasaija dated April 21.
According to the letter, Ms Irumba claimed that firing them and appointing a new board was in the interest of the perpetrators of corruption and an attempt to sweep under corruption issues, which serve only to destroy the company.
“I am appealing to you to set aside biases and prejudices against the right-minded members, reinstate us, and pay due attention to the issues of corruption and financial mismanagement, which we highlighted to you in our two letters,” Ms Irumba wrote.
On March 15, Mr Kasaija invited the board members to discuss the disagreements within the company following press reports. At that meeting, Ms Irumba said the former chairman, Mr Peter Ucanda, did not lay bare the ideal matters at the firm.
Although Mr Kasaija promised to meet the members again in a week upon receiving their report, Ms Irumba said they were surprised to be served with termination letters days later.
“Instead of meeting us as you had told us, you have terminated our tenure without hearing from us, I consider this unfair on our part as directors, who have been charged with the oversight of UETCL on behalf of the government and the nation,” she wrote.
On August 9, 2021 and September 21, 2021, three board members, including Ms Irumba wrote to Mr Kasaija detailing the financial mismanagement, land acquisition, corporate governance, lack of value for money for UETCL projects, and lack of accountable management.
ALSO READ: How UETCL board got red flags flying
In the petition, Ms Irumba states that terminating her tenure after highlighting those issues is the victimisation of those who fight corruption and tantamount to condoning corruption and shielding the perpetrators of mismanagement, contrary to the NRM agenda.
The Ministry of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development between April 5 and 12 sacked the entire UETCL board of directors over the alleged rot at the firm. The fired board comprised seven members, including Mr Ucanda (chairman), Mr Chris Mugisha, Ms Irumba, Mr Richard Santo Apire, Ms Grace Achieng Obura, and Mr Atwine, although Mr Ucanda earlier resigned before the axing.
In a March 21 letter to the Finance, Energy, and Privatisation and Investment ministries, Mr Ucanda indicated that he was stepping down as the chairperson of the board to ‘save his image from being tainted by media reports’ of alleged misdeeds.
At the weekend, Mr Ramathan Ggoobi, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, said the ministry was undertaking a process to institute a new board.
“The Ministry of Finance is in the process of putting a new board at the company,” Mr Ggoobi said.
This newspaper has seen a list of six names reportedly to be the new board of directors, who are yet to assume office.
Although Mr Ggoobi could not confirm the list, the members are Mr Kwame Ejalu Ejuku (chairperson), Achilo Shano Loka (member), Mr Yokutum Innocent (member), Ms Sylvia Nabatanzi Muhebwa, Mr Julius Mukooli (from the Finance ministry), and Ms Cecelia Menya.
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.
On February 27, the Sunday Monitor ran a special report on how politics and 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 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.
Sunday Monitor, on March 6, ran a special report that revealed how the UETCL board got the red flags flying.
DON'T MISS: Media revelation see axe fall on UETCL board
The investigation into allegations of fraud, witch-hunt, and blackmail against the UETCL board of directors exposed how the vices have the energy transmitter’s operations in the past impaired 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.