Anite beats Bemanya
Initially Anite and Bemanya were not enemies. They would start bickering much later after he became administrator in 2017.
At the time, a Libyan company called Ucom which had pumped some money into UTL after former Libyan leader, Col. Muammar Gaddafi assassination posted officials to run it who management it badly.
UCOM, a subsidiary of Libya’s Lap Green Network controlled up to 69% shares. It was succeeded by Libyan Post Telecommunications & Information Technology Company (LPTIC) and the government 31%.
Anite was in talks with LPTIC to pump $250 million into UTL in what was referred to as a Turn Around Strategy.
However, due to delays by government and other frustrations, LIPTIC on Feb.24 2017 informed Anite that they had lost confidence in government’s ability to conclude an agreement with them. They said they would not release any more funds to UTL and asked all their representatives to resign from the company.
However, a parliamentary investigation found that the company’s senior management was hemorrhaging its finances by paying themselves hefty billions every year while the company struggled to meet its other critical obligations.
Following these revelations, four senior management officials were kicked out. The Libyan investors also left leaving government as the sole shareholder.
On January 09 2018, President Museveni wrote to Prime Minister Rugunda that he had learnt of a scheme to devalue the assets of UTL by corrupt officials that had been sucking that company and paying themselves huge salaries.
“The situation of the company is not that bad. Therefore, I direct that there should be no more sales of assets of the company. Instead, I fully accept Hon. Anite’s proposal.”
He directed that all money UTL owed to government departments and agencies be converted into shares held by Uganda Development Corporation (UDC) on behalf of government.
On March 1 Anite informed LIPTIC that government would take control of the company.
But with debts said to be over Shs 709 billion at the time against assets estimated at Shs150 billion, UTL was on the verge of collapse, an April 3 PWC report concluded.
There were three options. One was to restructure the debt amongst the shareholders but this had just failed. The other was to appointment an administrator, whose job would be to recover it.
And the other was to liquidate the company voluntarily or wait for it to be liquidated forcefully by court following a petition by a concerned party.
As government was still weighing its options, a company called Cameo Techedge Services, which had been offering services to UTL and hadn’t been paid petitioned court seeking to wound up UTL. Anite rushed to court and blocked this petition. She requested court to allow government call a special board meeting to resolve UTL issues. Justice Mugambe granted her request on April 18. The same day, a UTL board appointed Bemanya as a provisional administrator, he accepted the appointment the following day and on May 22 the parties entered an Administration Deed making Bemanya a permanent Administrator.
Bemanya, as the administrator, soon solicited bids from potential strategic investors in an effort to revamp UTL.
Several companies including Mauritius’s Mauritius Telecom, Nigeria’s Taleology, Neubacher Montage LLP, Telecel Global, and Bayliss Consortium put in their bids.
Months later at a cabinet meeting, Anite stunned everyone when she accused Bemanya of attempting to bribe her on behalf of one of the competitors–Taleology. Those close to Bemanya say Anite had been pushing him to award the deal to Mauritius Telecom but he had refused.
Anite was vouching for state-owned Mauritius Telecom. Anite warned that Taleology had neither cash nor technical expertise. A May 25 2018 due diligence report undertaken by the Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) noted that Taleology would not be an ideal partner in the deal. FIA noted that Mauritius Telecom was a viable partner.
A casual check online reveals that Taleology has no internet presence beyond the headlines it made while it was bidding for the project and the others for failing to raise the cash it had pledged. Taleology had strategically offered $70m emerging the best bidder and was offered the deal at an Oct.1 cabinet meeting.
With 1.3 million subscribers leading Mauritius’s market, Anite’s Mauritius Telecom’s had offered only $45m but emerged the second.
However, a month later Anite was proved right. Taleology couldn’t even raised 10 percent of the cash as it had pledged. Three months later, it had not raised the pledged $ 70 million and was kicked out taking government to square one—looking for new investors.