State Minister for Privatization and Investment, Evelyn Anite failed to provide a straight answer regarding her recent alleged secret trip to Mauritius where she reportedly met with Mauritius Telecom officials, saying she is a Minister charged with attracting investments and that she has no travel ban against her.
The Minister who was Monday asked by SoftPower News at a news conference to comment on the allegations raised in a whistleblower complaint to the IGG said there is no travel ban against her so she is entitled to traveling anywhere.
Also Read: UTL Saga: On Leave, Minister Anite Discreetly Travels to Mauritius
The whistleblower in letters to the IGG and Anti-corruption Unit of State House asked that the IGG investigates reports that Anite secretly travelled to Mauritius on a mission to irregularly seal the deal for a UTL strategic investor. The whistleblower contends that the motive, timing and nature of Anite’s discreet trip to Mauritius are very suspect, given the circumstances surrounding the insolvent UTL.
The complainant accuses Minister Anite of influence peddling, abuse of office, corruption and conduct unbecoming of a Minister and Honorable Member of Parliament.
The whistle blower reveals that the Minister traveled aboard KLM Airline in company of her husband, to the U,S from Entebbe on July 15.
According to the whistleblower, after graduation and commencement of her short study at Harvard, a secret booking was made for her from USA via France to Mauritius, leaving her husband in the U.S.
Read More: Whistleblower Asks Anti-corruption Unit, IGG to Probe into Anite’s Secret Mission to Mauritius
The said trip was reportedly not booked in Uganda before her departure for USA. The whistleblower further states that in Mauritius, she met with the team responsible for ensuring this deal happens and they acquire UTL at a much less value than the asset value estimated at USD 84m. She later flew back to the USA and back to Uganda to disguise her trip to Mauritius, the whistleblower contends.
Responding to the allegations on Monday, Anite said: “Why do you care where i travel when I’m on leave? Did you hear there is a travel ban against me? Did you hear I’m not supposed to travel anywhere in the world?”
“Whether i have been there (Mauritius), it’s not your business. I have classmates who know I’m in Harvard School of Business. They are Ugandans. That’s why i need the IGG to carry out a public hearing”.
She said “we will comfirm whether i was in Mauritius or not” during the public hearing.
Regarding the IGG probe, she said she is ready to cooperate, although she said the investigation should be done in the public realm.
“I’m not fighting a personal fight. I’m fighting to liberate our country from these renown powerful thugs who have been entrenched in government and are used to getting off the hook each time they are in a scandal”.
“They have plotted that the IGG should investigate me. I do not fear any investigation, I’m not like them who run away from an audit. I don’t use legal gymnastics,” she told reporters at her office.
She said that she has no relationship with the Mauritius Telecom.
“I have no relationship with Mauritius Telecom. The first time i came in contact with them was when the Administrator came to me and gave me the list of 7 companies that had interest in investing in UTL”.
“I want to be that example that if the IGG must investigate me, it should be in full glare of the media. And I’m here ready to answer any queries from the IGG”.
She however denied knowledge of any ongoing investigation saying she has not received any letter from the IGG to that effect.
When this news website spoke with the IGG’s Office last week, the spokesperson said a petition relating to UTL had been received and that a query has been instituted to determine whether or not to initiate a probe.
Anite says she wants her legacy to be that she saved UTL.
“My issue is that that telecom is saved. I have tried three times to save that company. First attempt, we argued with the Attorney General’s chambers who filed for liquidation and we won”.
“Now I’m asking for an audit, they don’t want the audit. So, it’s not about Bemanya, it’s about a cartel”.
The Minister maintains she sided with Mauritius Telecom because the Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) had in its due diligence report stated that Mauritius Telecom was the competent bidder since it had financial capability and experience.
She says that it emerged at the time that the promoters of some of the 7 companies that were bidding for UTL were government officials, some of whom are close to the President.
“If the report said it was Teleology, i would have gone with them”.
Inside Uganda – Rwanda Pact: Kagame Commits to Resuming Cross-border Trade
President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and his Rwandam counterpart, Paul Kagame have Wednesday signed a peace pact committing that both countries will respect the sovereignty of each other and of the neighboring countries.
The pact was signed in Luanda, Angola, follows months of frosty relations between Uganda and Rwanda. In February this year, Rwanda closed its main border with Uganda at Katuna and blocked cargo from crossing into its territory causing a customs crisis. Since then there have been accusations and counter accusations between Kampala and Kigali mostly relating to security.
Museveni and Kagame met in Luanda on Wednesday at a Quadripartite Summit on regional cooperation and security chaired by the Angolan, President Joao Lourenco of Angola. Also in attendance was DRC President, Felix Tshisekedi and President Denis Sassou Nguesso of the Republic of Congo.
In the pact, the two Heads of State of Uganda and Rwanda undertook to respect the sovereignty of each other and of the neighboring countries. They also undertook to refrain from actions conducive to destabilization or subversion in the territory of the other party and neighboring countries thereby “eliminating all factors that may create such perception as well as that of acts such as the financing, training and infiltration of destabilizing forces.”
The two Principals also agreed to protect and respect the rights and freedoms of the nationals of the other party residing or transiting in their national territories in accordance with the law of that country.
Kagame has also committed to resume as soon as possible the cross-border activities between both countries including the movement of persons and goods for the development and improvement of the lives of their populations.
Both Presidents as well undertook to promote within the spirit of Pan Africanism and regional integration comprehensive cooperation in the fields of politics, security, defence, trade and cultural exchange, investment, based on complementary synergies.
The two administrations will establish an Ad Hoc Committee for the implementation of the MoU headed by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and composed of the Ministers responsible for international Administration and the Heads of Intelligence of both countries.
Facilitators of the process will keep appraised by Uganda and Rwanda in the implementation of the MoU.
“By signing this Memorandum of Understanding, each signatory party is aware that it will be held accountable for the non-compliance of this Memorandum,” the MoU reads in part.
It further states that disputes and differences in the implementation of the pact shall be settled through dialogue between the parties or as appropriate through the help of the facilitators.
Rwanda has repeatedly accused Uganda of illegally arresting its nationals and deporting them as well as hosting elements considered hostile by Rwanda, but Uganda denies these claims.
The Ugandan government has maintained that it will not allow its territory to be used to threaten the security of its country.
Uganda hosts over one million Refugees including Rwandans. The country’s open-border policy to refugees is hailed by the UN as the best in the world.
A number of Rwandans have been deported for involving in acts subversive to Uganda’s security while others are currently facing the Ugandan General Court Martial for kidnapping and repatriating Rwandan refugees back to Rwanda against the laws of Uganda and international law.
Uganda’s Foreign Minister has previously stated that as Rwandans are welcome to visit Uganda, they are required to abide by the laws of the land.
Anyone who breaks the law will be dealt with in accordance with the law, the Minister said.
In a March 10 correspondence by President Museveni to President Kagame, he said; “What is wrong is for Rwanda agents to try to operate behind the government of Uganda.
Museveni, Kagame Sign Peace and Security Pact in Luanda
The four Heads of State of Uganda, Angola, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) have Wednesday signed a pact committing to regional cooperation and security.
Presidents João Lourenço (Angola), Paul Kagame, (Rwanda), Yoweri Museveni (Uganda) and Felix Tshisekedi (DRC) concluded the Quadripartite Summit with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
The signing was also witnessed by President Sassou Nguesso of Congo Brazaville who is the current Chairman of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR). Uganda, Rwanda, Angola and Congo Brazaville are all members of the ICGLR.
The pact signed in Luanda, Angola, follows months of frosty relations between Uganda and Rwanda.
Speaking after the signing of the MOU, President Museveni said although he had been in touch with President Kagame through their two countries’ mechanisms, he welcomed efforts by their counterparts, the Heads of State of Angola and DR Congo.
“I may have my own understanding of the problem, but somebody has a different view. That is why sharing becomes important. I am very grateful that President Lourenço and President Tshisekedi came in.”
I had already been in touch with President Kagame through our own channels, but this is like reinforcement, President Museveni added before emphasizing that Uganda was “reaffirming what we have always held as principles of the African Union.
The pact will improve economic and political relations between our countries, President Museveni said in a statement later on Wednesday.
“We have agreed on a raft of issues that will be implemented between our two countries, largely meant to improve our security, trade, and political relations,” he explained.
Museveni said Uganda is fully committed to enforcing the MOU before lauding Presidents Lourenço and Tshisekedi for overseeing the process as well as Nguesso who witnessed the signing of the pact, as the current Chairman of ICGLR.
On his part, President Kagame said Rwanda would not be found wanting in implementing the MOU.
Later, Rwandan officials tweeted that President Kagame thanked the leaders of Angola and DR Congo for their “attitude and brotherly commitment to helping us find solutions between Uganda and Rwanda”.
“We had the opportunity to broadly and extensively discuss many issues as we understood them, that underlined this problem, hence the MoU we have reached today which stipulates the path to follow as we continue to try to resolve this problem,” he added.
Kagame applauded Presidents Lourenço and Tshisekedi for “the work and wise counsel they put into the process of bringing us together”.
The summit is a follow up meeting of the July 12 summit by the same heads of state in Luanda where Kampala and Kigali reportedly agreed to resolve tensions that have erupted between their two countries in recent months.
Ugandans and Rwandans on social media welcomed the pact, saying that they look forward to Rwanda’s opening of the border and to normalizing of relations between the two countries.
Regional Logistics Expo Opens, Minister Calls for Solutions to Improve Uganda’s Performance
The Minister for Works and Transport, Eng Monica Azuba Ntege has called on stakeholders in the transport and logistics industry to focus on improving Uganda’s ranking in logistics saying customers increasingly demand efficiency in service.
She made the plea on Wednesday while speaking at the opening of the second Regional Logistics Expo in Kampala. The Expo is bringing together over 500 local and international participants to assess the industry and discuss among others embracing disruptive innovations like blockchain technologies, artificial intelligence.
The two-day expo started on Wednesday at Sheraton Kampala Hotel, under the theme “Innovative and Sustainable Solutions for Freight Logistics.”
It is organized by Uganda Freight Forwarders Association (UFFA) is partnering with the National Logistics Platform (under Private Sector Foundation Uganda), the Ministry of Works and Transport and Uganda Revenue Authority (URA).
Minister for Works and Transport, Eng Monica Azuba Ntege said this year’s theme is very appropriate because of the need for the industry to be dynamic and keep up with the ever evolving world.
She recounted that last year’s Expo was significant as it resulted into the signing of an MoU between government and the private sector which became a precursor for consolidating the partnership in logistics.
“Customer expectations are increasing greatly and they expect to get goods faster, more flexibly, and at low cost,” the Minister told delegates at the summit.
She added: “Manufacturing is becoming more and more customized, which is good for customers but requires hard work for the logistics industry”.
Azuba said that while Uganda improved its ranking in the Uganda logistics performance index by 25 places between from 83rd in 2007 to 58th in 2016, this dropped between 2016 and 2018 from 58 to 102.
“This is unacceptable and I would to challenge industry experts to come up with feasible solutions that will improve our industry performance in the region,” she said.
She outlined some of the interventions made by government to improve the efficiency in logistics, among them – the construction of One Stop Border Posts at key border crossings of Malaba, Busia, Mutukula, Mirama Hills, Elegu, Katuna, Goli, Ntoroko, Mpondwe and Bunagana.
The construction of these Border Posts is geared towards increasing efficiency and reducing costs, she said.
The Minister also said government is in the process of reviving the national airline, Uganda Airlines in regard to air transportation of logistics. Commercial flights expected to commence on August 28.
“The objective is to increase Uganda’s competitiveness by reducing the cost of air transport and ease connectivity to and from Uganda”.
Under water transport, government is developing a multimodal port at Bukasa for cargo connecting to Musoma or Mwanza in Tanzania and to Kisumu in Kenya. Phase 1 of the project is set to be completed in 2021.
She further started that government is committed to developing railway transport and that financing arrangements for the development of Standard Guage Railway are being concluded.
Uganda cleared about 76,400 containers last year, according to statistics from URA. 39 percent of these containers came from China, 16 percent came from India and 6 percent came from United Arab Emirates.
This was 15 percent higher than what the volume of cargo that was cleared the previous year.
“All of us need to appreciate that the Logistics Industry has transformed thanks to Technology. Air transport is making us more connected. We thus have to facilitate quicker movement of goods with Digitization as the key facilitator,” said URA Commissioner for Customs, Dicksons Kateshumbwa during the Expo.
“Last year, 52% of our revenue was collected through Single Customs Territory. That alone shows how much Digitization is playing a key role in the economy”.
“Logistics are very critical to our lives. Everything we have on us (clothes, shoes, watches etc) was transported. It came through Logistics. This platform is very critical for us all,” he said.
Participants noted that high costs of transport and logistics impact the final prices of products and services.
French Embassy Offers Makerere Fresher, Suubi Scholarship to Learn French Language
Makerere University fresh student, Henry Suubi Kiyimba who was days ago mocked on Twitter for reporting to the university with a metallic suitcase continues to count his blessings.
The 20-year-old’s latest ray of hope is a scholarship he secured courtesy of the French Embassy in Uganda on Wednesday after meeting with the French Ambassador to Uganda, H.E Jules-Armand Aniambossou.
The Ambassador offered Henry Suubi a scholarship to learn French language at the Alliance Française Kampala.
Ambassador Aniambossou said that he came to know about the plight of Suubi from a tweet by the Makerere University Vice-Chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe.
Read More: Thanks to a Twitter Troll, Poor Ssuubi’s Life May Never Be the Same Again
He then invited the Makerere First Year student to the Embassy where the scholarship was announced.
The Ambassador congratulated Suubi for his hard work and encouraged him to continue pursuing his dream, emphasizing the importance of education in breaking barriers.
Suubi later thanked the Ambassador for the scholarship and expressed how honoured and privileged he felt for the overwhelming support extended to him so far from several well-wishers.
He expressed determination to pursue his dream course at Makerere.
Suubi is expected to report to Alliance Française to choose a convenient time slot for him to begin learning French.
He told the Ambassador that he knew a little bit about France; that he can also say “Bonjour” and that he knew the Eiffel tower, the popular landmark in Paris, France.
This comes a week after Suubi got a full scholarship to study his dream course – Engineering – from Joadah Consult.
In a letter dated August 14, Joadah Consult, an Engineering company, informed Makerere University Vice Chancellor of its intention to give an offer for a full scholarship to Suubi for a course in Mechanical Engineering.
Henry Suubi Kiyimba shot to the limelight after a continuing student at Makerere University trolled him on social networking platform, Twitter.
While the freshers (starting students) were reporting for their First Semester at Makerere University a few weeks ago, Suubi fell victim of the savage and shameless trend of trolling.
A hashtag #HeyFreshers had popped up and the Twitterverse had jumped on it, to send sarcastic and sometimes genuine advice to the university newbies.
In the stream of tweets, came one accompanied with a photo of a male student carrying a metallic suitcase, a back bag and a paper bag in the right hand. He was approaching University Hall, one of the on-campus halls of residence at Makerere University.
The tweet was captioned; “#HeyFreshers A rare picture of a fresher attached to University Hall reporting today with S.1 metal case and Osoufia (paper bag)”.
The student in the photo later came to be identified as Ssuubi Henry Kiyimba. The issue took a major twist (for the better) when Ugandan journalist working with the BBC, Alan Kasujja commented asking if anybody could help identify the student that had been ridiculed.
“We want to lay a table for him (Ssuubi) before his shamers,” Kasujja said in a tweet.
What followed was a stream of comments of people willing to chip in and help the boy.
Suubi Herny Kiyimba, 20, was admitted on government scholarship to pursue a Bachelors Degree of Science with Education (Economics).
He hails from Kamengo sub-county, Mpigi district in a family of 8, all supported by a single mother. He was previously a student of St Bruno Sserunkuma S.S Goli where he studied Physics, Economics and Mathematics (PEM) and attained 17 points at UACE.
Since Suubi’s Twitter ordeal, several people have been pledging various items – shoes, phone, money for transport, laptop, phone, suitcase, beddings, toiletries, books, rice among others. Others pledged to send him cash.
Telecom giant, MTN Uganda offered him free internet data for 6 months.
Uganda Cranes’ Miya Farouk Joins Turkish Club, Konyaspor
Uganda Cranes forward, Farouk Miya Tuesday completed his move to Turkish Super league side, Konyaspor.
Miya who has been instrumental in Cranes team for the last couple of years, penned a three year contract from Croatian side, HNK Gorica where he has been for on a season.
Speaking after signing the contract, Miya said that: “I admired the stadium and facilities. As soon as I stepped into the club, I realised what a great community it was. I signed for three years here today.”
“During this period, I want to make a great contribution to Konyaspor with my performances. I thank everyone who contributed to my transfer. I’m excitedly waiting for the day I will be on the field.”
“I had the chance to watch the first game of the season (MKE Ankaragücü ended in a barren draw). We have a very high quality and a very strong team. I am sure that I will adapt to the team in a short time and will do my best to the end,” added.
Miya, 21, has also previously played for Vipers SC in Uganda, Standard Liege and Royal Mouscron in Belgium and FK Sebail in Azerbaijan.