WORRIED OVER SINKING ECONOMY: Finance Minister Matia Kasaija

There is bad blood flowing at Ministry of Finance as two ministers are embroiled in a fight over the appointment of new board chairperson of Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited (UEGCL).

The two are Minister Matia Kasaija and Evelyn Anite, the State Minister for Privatisation and Investment who, in a space of only two days, wrote to two different people, informing them of being appointed to chair the UEGCL board.

By virtue of his appointment Mr. Kasaija is mandated by the UEGCL Act to appoint the board at the electricity generation company and indeed on November 8, 2016 he did appoint Eng. Frank Katusiime as the board chairperson replacing Eng. Stephen Isabalijja, who was appointed Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Energy.

“We have reviewed your profile available with us and we observe that you possess the skills and experience necessary to steer the board of directors of Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited (UEGCL). To achieve the intended objectives of the company, accordingly, I am pleased to appoint you as the chairman of board of directors of Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited for an initial period of 3 years renewable upon satisfactory and effective upon receipt of your letter of acceptance of this appointment,” reads Minister Kasaija’s letter to Eng. Katusiime which was copied to Minister of Energy and Mineral Development (Irene Muloni), State Minister of Finance, Planning  and Economic Development in charge of Privatisation and Investment (Anite), Permanent Secretary/Secretary to the Treasury (Keith Muhakanizi), Permanent Secretary Ministry of Energy (Isabalija), Director Parastatal Monitoring Unit and the Chief Executive Officer UEGCL, Harrison Mutikanga.

Minister Kasaija added: “Your appointment is based on the prevailing terms for the board chairman and these should be available to you by the Company Secretary together with all the necessary documentation to acquaint you with the affairs of the company.”

Interestingly, in the same week, on November 11, 2016, Ms Anite, a recipient of Minister Kasaija’s earlier communication, wrote to Eng. Proscovia M. Njuki informing her of her appointment as a new board chairperson replacing Eng. Isabalijja.

In her letter to Eng. Njuki, Minister Anite quotes a letter from Eng. Isabalijja referenced Ref: SRI/MoFPED/APPT-00-286-16 which ‘formed the basis of her appointment of Eng. Njuki as new UECGL board chairperson.

Eng. Isabalijja had accordingly advised UEGCL to appoint his replacement ‘from among the existing board members for continuity’. And not surprisingly, within hours, Anite who had just given birth and was reportedly on ‘sick leave’, wrote the letter of ‘appointment’ for Eng. Njuki.

 

The two letters from the two ministers appointing two different persons as board chairperson of UEGCL.
The two letters from the two ministers appointing two different persons as board chairperson of UEGCL.

“Reference is made to the UEGCL chairman of the board’s letter (Ref: SRI/MoFPED/APPT-00-286-16 of November 11, 2016 informing the stakeholders of his recent appointment as Permanent Secretary. We are pleased to inform you that you have been appointed the chairperson of the board of UEGCL with effect from January 1, 2017. This will allow a smooth transition of leadership and ensure continuity of the board activities with minimal interruption,” Minister Anite wrote and copied to Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Permanent Secretary/Secretary to the Treasury, Director Parastatal Monitoring Unit, Board Chairman Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited and Chief Executive Officer Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited.

Privatisation and Investment State Minister, Evelyn Anite.
Privatisation and Investment State Minister, Evelyn Anite.

Anite’s letter added: ‘We believe that with your vast experience of the UEGCL board you will continue to drive the organization to attain its strategic objectives and continue to generate electricity for generations in line with the company’s mandate. The tenure of your appointment will be three years from the date of appointment with an option for renewal while the rest of the terms shall be in accordance with the prevailing terms of service for the position’.

When contacted for a comment by this Website, Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development Permanent Secretary/Secretary to the Treasury, Keith Muhakanizi, regretted the anomaly and said “Ms Anite is on leave and therefore, she wasn’t aware that Mr. Kasaija had already made the appointment.”

Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development,Permanent Secretary/Secretary to the Treasury, Keith Muhakanizi acknowledged the mistake and apologised on behalf of the ministry.
Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development,Permanent Secretary/Secretary to the Treasury, Keith Muhakanizi acknowledged the mistake and apologised on behalf of the ministry.

“Yes, I accept there was ‘uncoordinated…’ and Anite has been on leave but she is human like all of us; and we are going to sort it out on Monday or Tuesday next week,” Mr Muhakanizi said on phone.

However, another source privy to the saga said the ‘uncoordinated movement of troops’ was a result of infighting between two factions seeking to control both the administrative and financial reins at UEGCL, known for its multi-billion deals.