MD accused of recruiting relatives, forging financial statements and failing to comply with government’s development plan
Kampala, Uganda | ISAAC KHISA | The Managing Director for Uganda Posta Limited, James Arinaitwe, is caught up in a fight to secure a ‘third term’ following the expiry of his contract last month, The Independent can exclusively reveal.
With the decline in the company’s financial performance, intimidation, nepotism and non-alignment of the entity’s strategic plan to the National Development Plan, the anxiety that the MD is shown exit is high.
The fight has deepened in the past two weeks following reports that there is a plan to renew his contract for another five years.
Leading the fight are employees, who in their various capacities, have petitioned the head of the Anti-Corruption Unit at State House, Lt. Col Edith Nakalema and the Inspector General of Government, Irene Mulyagonja over Arinaitwe’s bad leadership and the company’s dwindling performance.
Established in 1998 to offer mail-related services such as acceptance of letters and parcels; provision of post office boxes; and sale of postage stamps, packaging, and stationery, UPL is supposed to provide postal services, and harness the benefits from its vast resources or asset base and diversification opportunities at its disposal to run sustainable operations countrywide.
But sources familiar with its operations and various investigations reveal that the company could, instead be heading nowhere but towards its end.
To make matters worse, the term of the Board of Directors that is supposed to play an oversight role at the government owned company expired in March 2018.
In addition, the second five-year term for the current managing director expired on March 31, 2019, creating a power vacuum in the cash strapped entity.
In the midst of this confusion, the Solicitor General, in a letter dated April 04 to the Permanent Secretary for Information, Communication and Technology and National Guidance, Vincent Bagiire, and Managing Director, said there is need to appoint the members of the Board for UPL that will eventually appoint the next managing director.
But as the company awaits the new MD to be appointed, The Independent has learnt that emotions are high at the company headquarter and majority employees do not want the current MD’s contract renewed.
“We as UPL employees feel that it is time we lay down our tools,” one of the employees who preferred anonymity said.
“Imagine I can’t even communicate on my phone freely because my boss (Arinaitwe) seems to be tracking our conversations.”
A section of employees, for instance, accuse Arinaitwe of influencing recruitment of his family members into the company at the time of restructuring.
So far, he has influenced the recruitment of at least 12 of his family members involving his children, nieces, nephews and cousins, according to documents that The Independent has seen.
The other area of concern that The Independent has established is that in December 2016, the management of the Post Bus handed over its operations to another company, Fort Express. The arrangement was that Fort Express pay Shs80 million per month to the agency from the 10 buses.
But a few months into the operation, the company failed to meet its obligation leading to accumulation of debts worth Shs700million.
Though the contract was terminated and buses reverted to UPL, the vehicles were once again given to the same operators, this time under a different name – Double K Professional Drivers.
“The same company is still failing to meet the agreed terms while (Arinaitwe) continuing to receive the share from the operator,” the sources said.
Multiple sources that spoke to The Independent said Arinaitwe is fond of coming up with financial statements that do not reflect actual operations, picture of the organisation.
“To make matters worse, he (Arinaitwe) intimidates everyone in our offices and whoever disagrees with him is shown the exit or transferred to another branch” the sources said, adding that so far more than 100 employees have left the company during his tenure.