Kampala: Uganda Registration Services Bureau’s Bemanya Twebaze is not particularly a popular man. At office, staff loath the sight of him because of nepotism and tribal favoritism.
So when they heard about what happened in a meeting at State House, many went into a frenzy.
On Monday the President called him to a cabinet meeting together with Junior Finance Minister Evelyne Anite (for investment), and Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister, Gen Kahinda Otafiire to discuss the status of the the limping Uganda Telecom Limited.
Being the receiver of collapsing government parastatals, Mr Bemwanya was naturally the first to take cue when the item was called by the chair.
A source who attended the meeting said he started off by thanking the President “for leading and steering the country with such tremendous competence.”
Then, as he settled into explaining why the UTL issues are not being sorted out as first as it was expected, Mr Bemanya started pushing the blame on the hysterical Anite saying she was some kind of a stumbling block for the process.
Before he could even finish, Minister Anite shot up and accused him of having receiving a bribe from one of the investors interested in having a piece of the UTL cake.
“Your Excellence Mr Bemanya is not being honest with the truth but let me help him say it so that he is set free,” a source quotes Anite to have started her missive.
“He got a bribe from one of the investors and he called me that we share and I quicken the process but me I refused and since that day he and his investors now hate me. He is now here trying to portray me as the one failing the project,” she said and fell back in her seat.
There was a little bit of silence. Bemanya blankly stared in space with no come back. Just as he was mustering courage to stand probably respond to what had been said, the President, our source said, cleared his voice, picked up his pen and said, as he scribbled in his notebook,
“Well, that is a serious allegation and we shall not leave it hanging. We need to have it investigated and if it is true, corrective steps should be taken.”
For now, Mr Bemanya is safe. He will have to make a defense before the investigating team and depending on the findings, he will either lose his job or stay.
In May, a Mauritius firm that was among the first to bid to be given UTL come out accusing Minister Anite of throwing a spanner in the bidding process that should have produced the best bidder.
The firm said the minister brought in two new firms that did not participate in the four rounds of the bidding process and wanted them to be included.
The Mauritius firm argued that by bringing the two firms at the last minute and therefore weakening their chance of getting the deal, Anite had usurped the powers of the Provisional Administrator Bemanya Twebaze who is also the executive director of the Uganda Registration Services Bureau.
UTL went into receivership effective April 28, 2017, following its heavy indebtedness amounting to Shs533 billion.