Posts tagged as: private

To Improve Services, Ministers Should Go to Naguru Hospital

editorial

Following persistent reports of corruption in government health facilities, particularly at Naguru hospital, the minister of state for Health in charge of General Duties, Sarah Opendi, took it upon herself to find out the truth.

Disguised as an ordinary patient, the minister arrived on a boda boda and feigned some illness. The nurse attending to her asked for Shs 5,000 before anything could be done while the laboratory technician demanded Shs 150,000 for a blood test.

With that, the minister had confirmed her fears. Ms Opendi must be commended for picking interest in service delivery under her docket and going an extra mile to establish the truth.

If all ministers and other government officials took their work as seriously as Opendi often does, service delivery would go up as corruption goes down.

However, it’s not as simple as that. Health workers in Uganda are some of the poorest-paid government employees, and this has partly fuelled corruption.

While poor pay should never be used to justify corruption, the latter is harder to fight amid the former. Besides, our public health facilities should be equipped to serve all Ugandans irrespective of their standing in society.

Having two or even three categories of Ugandans; whereby one goes abroad at taxpayers’ expense for simple treatment, another goes to the best private hospitals in the country, while the other goes to corrupt public health facilities is sad.

Minister Opendi needn’t disguise herself if Naguru hospital was well equipped to attend to all Ugandans of all walks of life, including ministers.

She and her colleagues would have visited from time to time, and most likely the services would be better and the workers less inclined to bribery.

Otherwise, if government facilities are not good enough for its own officials, we shouldn’t be surprised that they are a bastion of corruption and the services are wanting.

This applies to other sectors too. If public schools are not good enough for ministers and MPs’ children, no one should be surprised that they are not delivering the right outcomes.

Uganda

President, UK’s Boris Johnson Discuss Somalia, South Sudan, Burundi

President Museveni has held candid talks with the United Kingdoms Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on the situation in… Read more »

Tanzania: Aviation Players Told to Fix Snags

By Sauli Giliard

THE government has tasked aviation stakeholders to come up with solutions for problems facing the industry, including a decline of cargo deliveries at airports.

Officiating the first National Civil Aviation Forum in Dar es Salaam yesterday, the Minister of Works, Transport and Communication, Prof Makame Mbarawa (pictured), pointed out that since the government was investing heavily on infrastructures, the challenge was how to reverse the trend of dropping cargo.

At the forum organised by Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA), the minister said it had been noted that flowers from Arusha as well as fish consignments were not being transported directly from the country, but through Entebbe and Nairobi airports in Uganda and Kenya, respectively.

Prof Mbarawa said the trend was worrisome, tasking the participants in the forum themed “Taking Civil Aviation Industry in Tanzania to the Apex” to come up with solutions.

“Any cargo plane can land at Mwanza Airport which has the longest runway in the region … but fish from Mwanza is being transported through Entebbe Airport and flowers from Arusha through Nairobi,” the minister noted sorrowfully, stressing: “We need short and clear answers on these challenges.”

In the forum attended by sector ministry officials, those linked with institutions under its umbrella, aviation companies including Air Tanzania, FastJet and Precision Air, the minister emphasised that the government needed a focused Public Private Partnership (PPP) in the construction of aviation infrastructures.

“Policy can’t be changed without inputs from stakeholders; we count on your inputs to solve the challenges facing the industry,” the minister said.

Among the challenges raised in the forum was the shortage of pilots, technicians, the trained cabin crew, which the minister said could be tackled if the stakeholders played their roles effectively.

Mr Hamza Johari, the TCAA Director General said since the country was striving to attain middle-income economy status, aviation stakeholder engagement was important.

Meanwhile, Mr Johari was currently striving to improve airport infrastructure, including radars, power stations and expanding existing ones to accommodate as many passengers and planes as possible.

In order to attract more planes to fly upcountry, the Tanzania Airport Authority (TAA) suggests that many sectors, including agriculture, should be linked to the aviation sector.

Tanzania

Govt Slaps Tabloid With Two-Year Ban

Director General of Tanzania Information Services (MAELEZO) and Chief government spokesperson Dr Hassan Abbasi. Read more »

Nigeria: Customs Intercepts Another Cache of Arms At Tin-Can Port

By Ndubuisi Francis and Eromosele Abiodun

Abuja and Lagos — The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Tin Can Island Command tuesday intercepted another container suspected to contain yet another cache of arms imported from Turkey.

The interception came barely one week after the command intercepted a 20-foot container load of 1,100 pump action rifles.

THISDAY investigations revealed that the container with number, CMAU189817/8 is believed to contain about 475 pump action rifles.

THISDAY gathered at the port that the pump action rifles were discovered after the Customs Area Comptroller of the Command, Comptroller Bashir Yusuf, ordered a detailed profiling of the importer of the 1,100 rifles intercepted last week.

After the detailed profiling, it was discovered that the container belonged to the same importer.

This seizure is the third in the series of containers loads of arms seizure at Tin-Can port alone and fourth in the country within eight months.

A source who witnessed the examination of the container told THISDAY that the rifles were concealed with small connecting pipes.

According to the source, “The container was owned by the same importer of the 1,100 guns. After a detailed profiling of the importer ordered by the Area Comptroller, it was discovered that he still has another container inside the port, so they fished it out.

“But I don’t know why they are hiding the identity of the importer; it could even be the government themselves importing these weapons.”

However, when contacted the National Public Relations Officer of the service, Joseph Attah, said a container was suspected and its yet to be examined to know what is inside.

“Let’s not speculate about arms please. A container is being suspected and examination will reveal whatever is inside,” he said in a short SMS.

The Comptroller General of the NCS, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), had last Monday displayed 1,100 rifles imported into Tincan port from Turkey.

The customs CG said the 20ft container was originally declared to contain wash hand basins and water closets.

He said: “On September 6, 2017, operatives of the Nigeria Customs Service intelligence unit on a routine monitoring of activities across the terminals discovered a 1x20ft container with number, GESU2555208 which was not previously listed for examination positioned with other containers for the day’s examination.

“They also observed that the seal of this unlisted container had already been cut and padlocked. The container became suspect and had to be immediately transferred to the enforcement unit.”

Upon thorough examination, the container contained 600 pieces of Jojef Magnum black pump action; 300 pieces of Jojef Magnum Silver pump action and 209 pieces of Jojef Magnum Plastic single barrels hunting gun pump action rifles.

“Importation of 1100 rifles at a time when the nation is undergoing some security challenges is a clear indication that there are indeed some elements who do not believe in the unity, peace and well being of Nigeria.

Also, the NCS has announced a significant break in its drive to checkmate the smuggling of vehicles through the land borders with the seizure of what it described as 18 high-profile and exotic bullet-proof cars smuggled through the land borders.

The Comptroller-General of Customs, Ali, who made the disclosure in Abuja tuesday, said the vehicles were impounded from Kefiano Motors Limited, an auto dealer in Abuja via credible information sourced by the detachment of the compliance team of the NCS.

All the impounded vehicles, Ali said, apart from been bullet proof, do not have proper evidence of paid customs duties and do not have the ‘end user certificate’, which statutorily must accompany vehicles of that level.

“Beyond the issue of non-payment of customs duty, 13 of these vehicles are Bullet Proof. These vehicles require clearance from the office of the National Security Adviser before importation. In a period of fragile security, we cannot afford to have unauthorised persons use armored vehicles. Without End User Certificates, possession of these vehicles is illegal,” he said.

Giving details of the vehicles which were parked at the NCS’s headquarters in Abuja, the customs boss said the vehicles seized included two Range Rovers, one Rolls Royce, four Lexus, three G Wagons, two Prado SUVs, one Lincoln Navigator, one Infinity, one 4matic , two Toyota Sequoia, and one Toyota Camry.

He said: “Let it be known that being in possession of smuggled item is an offence punishable under section 3 of Customs and Excise (Special Penal and Other Provision) Act Cap 47 laws of federation of Nigeria 2004,” adding that the law on ‘possession of smuggled items’ which had hitherto been idle in the operation of the NCS would be activated to allow for the prosecution of those indicted in illegal smuggling to up to one year imprisonment without an option of fine.

He urged vehicle buyers and customs officers to go through due process in acquiring and documenting vehicles to avoid undue stress and embarrassment.

He lamented that it was unfortunate that “the Service zero stands on smuggling continue to expose unwillingness of most Nigerian importers to comply with the law,” stressing that “these unpatriotic elements willingly comply with the laws of other countries, but refuse to comply with our National guidelines on imports and exports.”

“High profile interceptions such as these are testimonies of the positive effects of the ongoing reform activities in the service,” he said.

Reacting to reports that some smugglers had started hiding such cars in private homes, Ali explained that the customs service was empowered by Section 158 of CEMA, Cap 45, Laws of Federation of Nigeria to freely patrol into any residence on suspicion of harbouring smuggled cars for the purpose of seizure.

“In the last two months, the service had stepped up its implementation of the federal government’s ban on importation of vehicles through land borders and we shall continue to do so.

“For those who may want to test the service’ resolve to maintain the new tempo of aggressive anti-smuggling operations, let me restate management’s readiness to sustain the tempo and even increase it by acquiring more working tools that will boost effectiveness.” he said.

He stated that the re-invigorated anti-smuggling drive by the service had led to the seizure of 135 vehicles in Lagos (Zone A), 93 in Kaduna (Zone B), and 37 in Port Harcourt (Zone C).

Oulanyah Rules – Kadaga Will Decide On Anti-Age Limit Bill

By Olive Eyotaru

Deputy Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah ended hours of frenzied speculation yesterday by announcing that no competing motions spurred by a spirited disagreement among MPs over the presidential age limit would be tabled until Speaker Rebecca Kadaga returned from London.

The heat generated by the age-limit frenzy brought two MPs to blows yesterday afternoon in the full glare of cameras.

Talk had been rife that a pre-emptive motion by ruling party MPs to introduce a private member’s bill for amendment of Article 102(b) of the Constitution would be allowed.

But when the House convened for plenary, Oulanyah announced that the much-anticipated motions from both the NRM and opposition would not be tabled.

“None of these motions will come to this floor until we have a discussion with the speaker on Thursday morning about the two notices. If it requires the Business committee to determine what happens, then the committee will sit but if by the authority of the speaker and the meeting is necessary to schedule it for business, then the business will be scheduled for Thursday afternoon,” he said.

One of the motions is sponsored by Monicah Amoding (Kumi), Patrick Oshabe Nsamba (Kassanda North) and Theodore Ssekikubo (Lwemiyaga). It urges government to constitute the Constitution Review Commission (CRC).

Oulanyah said although he had also received a notice for a motion from Raphael Magyezi (NRM, Igara West), for a bill to amend the Constitution, including Article 102 (b), the two motions would be considered after he meets the speaker.

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga returns on Wednesday (today). Failure by government to constitute the CRC is one of the reasons advanced by agitators for the deletion of Article 102(b), which sets 35 years as the lower limit and 75 years as the upper age beyond which one cannot stand for president.

If it remains unchanged, the 73-year-old President Yoweri Museveni who has been in power since 1986 will be ineligible for re-election in 2021. A visibly irritated Oulanyah warned legislators against inciting the public.

“There should be no pressure on anybody because these are matters which we have discussed before. If any of them are to come, we shall have the opportunity to discuss them in a fair and open way and then we shall take a decision as a House. I don’t think there should be any anxiety.

“I went to launch the report of the Equal Opportunities Commission and the person who introduced me said the speaker has to leave quickly because the House is going to be hot this afternoon and the speaker is in a rush,” Oulanyah said.

Acting Leader of Opposition Roland Mugume expressed fear over the heavy deployment of military police around parliament and arrest of Allan Ssewanyana (Makindye West) and Moses Kasibante (Lubaga North). Both MPs were released without charge today.

He also hinted on police summons to MPs Muhammad Nsereko (Kampala Central), Barnabas Tinkasiimire (Buyaga West), Theodore Ssekikubo (Lwemiyaga) and Ssewanyana.

“We are actually scared. When you are on the other side (NRM), you can take things for granted but for us, we are scared. Our colleagues have been arrested… I am happy after your communication that the motions will not come, my heart actually relaxed,” Mugume said.

Oulanyah, however, warned that in as much as MPs are entitled to immunity under the Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Act, it is not absolute where they [get powers] to incite violence, like some MPs have been doing in the media.

“On deployment, we should ask ourselves first and challenge ourselves: What have we as MPs been doing on television and radio stations? I have watched a clip on social media where a member of this House is calling for war in this House; that there is going to be war like it has never been seen,” he said.

“Now when you make these public statements, you make this House a possible scene of crime. When you do that, how do you stop the police from deploying? As speaker, I don’t have to call the IGP… so if you are threatening violence and at the same time expect the police to stay very far away from where you are proposing to execute your violence, really honourable members?” Oulanyah said.

There was a fracas at parliament between Ibrahim Abiriga (Arua Municipality) and Bernard Atiku (Ayivu). Abiriga met Atiku outside the chambers of parliament and reportedly accused him of inciting people in West Nile against him over the age limit debate and calling him a Congolese.

The statement infuriated Atiku who charged at Abiriga and punched him. The altercation attracted MPs and police officers who separated the two legislators.

While Atiku walked away after the fracas, Abiriga was seen gulping water from a bottle before he later walked to the parking lot, entered his vehicle and drove off.

Individual Country Projects Fuelling Conflicts Over the Nile

interviewBy Abubaker Mayemba

For the Nile basin countries, River Nile waters mean life and death. Consensus on how the waters should be shared is paramount. INNOCENT NTABANA, the executive director of Nile Basin Initiative (NBI), which brings together 10 countries and offers a platform to dialogue on the issues affecting the Nile, spoke to Abubaker Mayemba on how the Nile is being protected.

Why is the preservation of the Nile so important?

It’s important to protect the Nile so that it sustains not only the [growing] population but also the fauna and the entire bio-diversity in the basin.

The Nile basin hosts about 25 per cent of the African population and it covers 10 per cent of the whole African area. In addition, the Nile river and its various wetlands is a habitat for important biodiversity. NBI objectives include development, sustainable management, eradicating poverty and promoting regional integration.

How far have you gone to achieve them?

A number of projects have been commissioned, mainly between member countries, and they are contributing to creating more trust and cooperation. So far, projects costing $6.5 million have been prepared and some are being implemented. Others are at planning stage.

NBI has contributed a lot in developing policies aimed at sustainable management of the Nile waters. Strategies like the Management of Environmental Flows in the Nile Basin and the Climate Change Strategy have been developed and are being mainstreamed into national policies for the better management of the Nile.

NBI is supporting the monitoring of the river and every five years we produce a report called The State of River Nile Basin, which gives an outlook on the health of the river.

What are some of challenges NBI faces?

The first challenge is the transitional nature of NBI. An institution to be in transition for more than 17 years is a big challenge. NBI also has funding challenges. NBI’s financing has reduced and commitment of member countries has not always been as expected. So far, they have man- aged to finance our core functions but when it comes to other programmes, we are depending on foreign aid.

As much as we are encouraging cooperative management of the Nile, we are seeing individual investment projects, which really have not been discussed enough by member countries and sometimes they are a source of conflicts.

We try to help as much and we think that we should have a basin plan where all these in- vestments are identified and this could reduce the current conflicts we are seeing among countries. Since 2010, one country [Egypt] has frozen its participation in NBI. It’s also a challenge because we would love to see countries all together.

Has there been any progress in bringing Egypt back to NBI?

Since the 24th Nile-COM meeting held here in Entebbe, it was agreed that efforts be made to bring back Egypt. A special committee has been put in place, which met Egypt to listen to its concerns.

The report was presented to the council of ministers, where Egypt always participates. It requested to go back and reflect on the responses given by the council of ministers.

What are those points of contention that are stopping Egypt from coming back to fully participate in NBI?

The major point of contention, from what Egypt says, is that in 2010 when six Nile basin countries decided to sign the Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA) and to move forward to its ratification, Egypt didn’t consent to it and, therefore, didn’t sign it.

Egypt wanted to exhaust one article of the CFA related to water security but other countries thought what they had achieved was a lot over the 15 years of negotiation and that they could move forward, establish the commission, and within six months start negotiating on the article on water security.

This was mainly the point of disagreement, which the countries are trying to see how it can be resolved.

What’s in the article on water security that Egypt wants to be changed?

There is still a disagreement on that as far as Egypt wants previous water agreements to be part and parcel of the CFA. Other countries say “no these treaties are not binding since they were made during colonial times when even some were not yet British colonies.”

They think a new agreement needs to be reached to govern the Nile water. At the end, they [other countries] say let’s discuss water security for all the Nile basin countries.

Egypt has its own concerns on its water needs but also member countries have their own concerns on their water needs to respond to the growing population.

In October, the Nile Basin Development Forum (NBDF) will be held in Kigali. Why did NBI come up with this forum?

This is a follow-up of a number of conferences which were held before 2002 about Nile waters. It’s generally a science policy dialogue which brings together decision makers; researchers, civil society and private sector to discuss issues pertaining to the Nile waters outside the normal governance.

It is a very important forum for us as it informs countries and Nile basin institutions on new topical themes and the outcomes are taken up by countries and NBI to be integrated into their programmes.

In 2008, the topic of discussion that year was climate change and NBI was requested to integrate climate change into its programmes. From there, we developed the Climate Change strategy and we now have activities towards strengthening the capacity of countries to handle climate change issues.

The Museveni Harvest Season Has Corrupted National Psyche

opinionBy Yusuf Serunkuma

In Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, there is an Igbo saying that “when mother cow is chewing grass, its young ones watch its mouth.”

The wisdom behind this saying is that young ones will learn eating – voraciously, gobbling, or calmly – from the matriarch.

There is a meek version of this proverb among the Bantu talking about mother-bird teaching her nestlings to fly. I prefer the Igbo one.

To put the recent judiciary’s industrial [sic] strike in context, one has to begin from the position that Yoweri Museveni’s ongoing presidency (and his 1981-1986 war veterans, their spouses, broods and footmen) has been a sweet season of harvest.

To paraphrase Michela Wrong, it has been “a time to eat!” And chewing they have chewed! But because the gardens belong to all of us, it is difficult to just sit by and watch without helping ourselves!

Despite the dangers of understanding through analogy, comparative criticism remains very attractive. Indeed, against a Museveni presidency, the critique of the previous regimes – especially Milton Obote and Idi Amin – has been succinctly made: Ineffective. Authoritarian. Swine. Murderers.

However, what the mendacious chroniclers of our history will not tell you is how much these two ‘dullards’ contributed or did not destroy under the circumstances of their time.

With land and property being the hottest items in town, let’s fancy an investigation. It is well documented that the upscale locations of Kololo and Nakasero were never private estates.

The land and buildings there were public assets housing senior and middle-rank staff of parastatals including Uganda Electricity Board, Uganda Railways Corporation, Coffee Marketing Board (CMB), Uganda Television (UTV), Radio Uganda, etc.

For parastatals which engaged in value addition outside Uganda, property was never rented but owned. For coffee that crossed Kenyan territory with key stops in Nairobi and Mombasa, CMB owned almost entire streets in Nairobi and Mombasa, housing both senior and junior staffers, factory hands and warehouses.

For similar purposes, Uganda owned over ten houses in London. There was plenty of property in New York, Geneva and several other major cities where we had business interests and dealings.

Then came the season of the harvest. When our heroes had just returned from the bush, they were housed in hotels around town including Apollo, Fairway and Speke.

Quickly, some moved into residences in Kololo, which had fallen vacant after those who occupied them had fled. It was understandable then as many did not have residences and had just done the country a favour through sacrifice.

Soon, however, advantaging from the circumstances of their time, especially Structural Adjustment Programs, which also pitched privatization, our heroes and heroines started harvesting the country.

They started by arguing that parastatals owned too much property than they actually needed! Buildings were even expensive to maintain.

(Sadly, many parastatals now are in rented offices). Since some of the structures – for reasons of age and poor maintenance – had deteriorated, a private investor – often an NRA/M junkie – would be asked to carve off part of the land or utilize the structure for personal gain and, in turn, renovate the aged structure.

Uganda Railways, UEB, CMB, National Housing and most recently UBC were harvested under this arrangement. Continuing the harvest, these lucky ‘palm wine drunkards’ introduced a policy of selling parastatal houses to sitting tenants.

Recall that most of these had been occupied by them upon return from the bush. Oh boy, they harvested them on the cheap and, in some cases, sold them off immediately!

This is how senior citizens such as Amanya Mushega, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, Eriya Kategaya, General Henry Tumukunde, Amama Mbabazi, Captain Francis Babu and several others acquired houses in the swankiest parts of Kampala.

Sometime in 2007, a bizarre story of presidential aide on political affairs, Moses Byaruhanga, appeared in the media. He had grabbed a Cotton House in Kololo (which had been occupied by some low-ranking officers, drivers or security guards), was on sale to a sitting tenant.

Insisting he was the sitting tenant, government sold it to him at Shs 250 million. The good politician rushed to Dfcu bank for a loan. A couple of weeks later, he sold the house at Shs 600m, cleared the loan, and walked away.

So, before we even consider public servants earning extortionist salaries (directors at KCCA, UNRA, URA, NSSF or MPs… ) as we debate the judiciary’s strike, we have to appreciate a 1986 shift in national psyche towards public service. One quickly realizes the judges are simply latecomers.

The author is a PhD fellow at Makerere Institute of Social Research.

BOU Under Probe Over Shs1.4 Billion Payment to Private Lawyers

By Ibrahim a Manzil

Parliament — Parliament’s Committee on Commissions Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase) is investigating Bank of Uganda officials over the expenditure of Shs1.4b in legal fees to private law firms, despite having a fully-fledged legal department.

In four successive Financial Years, the committee heard that top city law firms, including MMAKs Advocates, the firm representing BoU in Crane Bank case involving city tycoon Sudhir Ruparelia, were paid more than Shs1.4b, with an accrued balance of Shs15.8b.

The BoU matters handled by hired lawyers include representation in different court cases and offering legal opinions and processing of land documents.

The Committee chairperson, Mr Abdu Katuntu (Bugweri, FDC) yesterday grilled the central bank officials on the rationale of having in place a legal department and then hiring private lawyers.

The MPs, who are currently scrutinising the Auditor General’s reports on BoU, described the expenditure as ‘uncalled for’.

Mr Katuntu and other committee members said it is untenable to provide for a legal department, yet most of the legal work is done by private lawyers.

“Who takes the decision that this case has to be referred to the legal counsel outside?” Mr Katuntu asked.

Other MPs who spoke to Daily Monitor after the meeting called the disputed hiring of private lawyers as “a money-making venture” and called for an investigation into the deals.

The central bank’s legal director, Ms Margaret Kaggwa Kasule, however, explained that the decisions on what cases are handled by the contracted lawyers are taken with a consideration to the “complexity of the matter.”

The MPs questioned her explanation on account of the various cases BoU officials sent to private lawyers.

“That decision is taken by the legal counsel through internal consultation with the lawyers. It depends on the complexity of the matter and a number of other issues,” Ms Kasule said.

Mr Katuntu asked why “even a caveat” is placed by external lawyers, to which Ms Kasule responded that “the issues of land office, Mr chairperson, are outsourced.”

Ms Anita Among (Bukedea, Ind) said in their next siting, the central bank will be required to present “a budget for internal and external operations”.

“We also need a list of your contracts [with external lawyers] and a list of all the advocates,” she added.

BoU officials have also been asked to present the budget for MMAKS Advocates and AF Mpanga Advocates – the external lawyers representing BoU in Crane Bank case.

Mr Ruparelia accuses the two legal firms contracted by BoU of conflict of interest. The case is pending before the Commercial Court.

Mr Katuntu said the committee interface with BoU officials will see a legal audit of the bank, asking BoU governor, Prof Emmanuel Mutebile, who was characteristically silent throughout the sitting, to provide the terms of engagement.

“Bring the term of engagement between legal firms, we want to see the performance of your legal counsel, do a quick audit of cases you won and those you lost and also the costs you recovered because the cases you win, you win with costs,” said Mr Katuntu.

Other orders

Mr Katuntu also asked the central bank officials to produce its legal department’s itemised annual budget in today’s sitting without fail.

Ms Kasule said she did not have it off-head yesterday, but promised to avail it in the set of documents that will be presented today.

In an array of documents seen by this newspaper, a particular law firm received a total of Shs62m being paid in respect of “balance on agreed instruction fees and Value Added Tax.”

Another case in the documents involved another law firm, which received shs31m for “obtaining planning permission in respect of plot 15-17 Birch Avenue.”

Mr Katuntu said the legal department will have to justify its existence in relation to the amounts of money paid to the external law firm.

Mbarara Municipality MP Michael Tusiime claimed that whereas BoU is hiring private lawyers, their land in parts of Mbarara “has been encroached on.”

The central bank undertook to investigate the claim.

Totals paid

In Financial Year 2016/2017, the total amount paid to external lawyers was Shs300m, with an outstanding balance of Shs2.9b.

For FY 2015/2016, the amount paid was Shs387m, and the remaining balance amounts to a total of Shs8.8b

In FY 2014/2015, Shs681m was paid, with a total of Shs4.1b remaining in balances.

For FY 2013/2014, a total of Shs61m was paid, with no detail of the balance remaining.

Uganda: BOU Under Probe Over Shs1.4 Billion Payment to Private Lawyers

By Ibrahim a Manzil

Parliament — Parliament’s Committee on Commissions Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase) is investigating Bank of Uganda officials over the expenditure of Shs1.4b in legal fees to private law firms, despite having a fully-fledged legal department.

In four successive Financial Years, the committee heard that top city law firms, including MMAKs Advocates, the firm representing BoU in Crane Bank case involving city tycoon Sudhir Ruparelia, were paid more than Shs1.4b, with an accrued balance of Shs15.8b.

The BoU matters handled by hired lawyers include representation in different court cases and offering legal opinions and processing of land documents.

The Committee chairperson, Mr Abdu Katuntu (Bugweri, FDC) yesterday grilled the central bank officials on the rationale of having in place a legal department and then hiring private lawyers.

The MPs, who are currently scrutinising the Auditor General’s reports on BoU, described the expenditure as ‘uncalled for’.

Mr Katuntu and other committee members said it is untenable to provide for a legal department, yet most of the legal work is done by private lawyers.

“Who takes the decision that this case has to be referred to the legal counsel outside?” Mr Katuntu asked.

Other MPs who spoke to Daily Monitor after the meeting called the disputed hiring of private lawyers as “a money-making venture” and called for an investigation into the deals.

The central bank’s legal director, Ms Margaret Kaggwa Kasule, however, explained that the decisions on what cases are handled by the contracted lawyers are taken with a consideration to the “complexity of the matter.”

The MPs questioned her explanation on account of the various cases BoU officials sent to private lawyers.

“That decision is taken by the legal counsel through internal consultation with the lawyers. It depends on the complexity of the matter and a number of other issues,” Ms Kasule said.

Mr Katuntu asked why “even a caveat” is placed by external lawyers, to which Ms Kasule responded that “the issues of land office, Mr chairperson, are outsourced.”

Ms Anita Among (Bukedea, Ind) said in their next siting, the central bank will be required to present “a budget for internal and external operations”.

“We also need a list of your contracts [with external lawyers] and a list of all the advocates,” she added.

BoU officials have also been asked to present the budget for MMAKS Advocates and AF Mpanga Advocates – the external lawyers representing BoU in Crane Bank case.

Mr Ruparelia accuses the two legal firms contracted by BoU of conflict of interest. The case is pending before the Commercial Court.

Mr Katuntu said the committee interface with BoU officials will see a legal audit of the bank, asking BoU governor, Prof Emmanuel Mutebile, who was characteristically silent throughout the sitting, to provide the terms of engagement.

“Bring the term of engagement between legal firms, we want to see the performance of your legal counsel, do a quick audit of cases you won and those you lost and also the costs you recovered because the cases you win, you win with costs,” said Mr Katuntu.

Other orders

Mr Katuntu also asked the central bank officials to produce its legal department’s itemised annual budget in today’s sitting without fail.

Ms Kasule said she did not have it off-head yesterday, but promised to avail it in the set of documents that will be presented today.

In an array of documents seen by this newspaper, a particular law firm received a total of Shs62m being paid in respect of “balance on agreed instruction fees and Value Added Tax.”

Another case in the documents involved another law firm, which received shs31m for “obtaining planning permission in respect of plot 15-17 Birch Avenue.”

Mr Katuntu said the legal department will have to justify its existence in relation to the amounts of money paid to the external law firm.

Mbarara Municipality MP Michael Tusiime claimed that whereas BoU is hiring private lawyers, their land in parts of Mbarara “has been encroached on.”

The central bank undertook to investigate the claim.

Totals paid

In Financial Year 2016/2017, the total amount paid to external lawyers was Shs300m, with an outstanding balance of Shs2.9b.

For FY 2015/2016, the amount paid was Shs387m, and the remaining balance amounts to a total of Shs8.8b

In FY 2014/2015, Shs681m was paid, with a total of Shs4.1b remaining in balances.

For FY 2013/2014, a total of Shs61m was paid, with no detail of the balance remaining.

Corruption is Not an African Norm, Kagame Says

By Collins Mwai

President Paul Kagame has demystified common misconceptions about Africa such as the extent of corruption saying that such occurrences are not a characteristic of the continent.

President Kagame was speaking at the Corporate Council on Africa at a session dubbed ‘Presidential Dialogue on the Future of US-Africa Business’ in New York on the Sidelines of the ongoing United Nations General Assembly.

Kagame said that often, there are misconceptions about the continent which often get in the way of Africa’s ability to do business with the rest of the world.

He said that most occurrences on the continent are not unique to the continent and happen elsewhere in the world and only differs in presentation leading to misconceptions.

“A lot of what happens in Africa, happens around the world,” Kagame said.

Among the most popular misconceptions about Africa is the extent of corruption which has led some multi-nationals to shy away from investing in the continent.

In some cases, some international investors have made budgetary provisions for bribes when coming to invest on the continent.

The head of state demystified the popular perception that corruption is a norm in Africa stating that even when it occurs, it often involves non-Africans.

“In fact, in Africa when corruption occurs, it involves non-Africans. Corruption is not African, it’s just corruption. People have developed a misconception that corruption is the way of life in Africa. This is far from the truth,” he said.

He called on the rest of the world to adjust their viewpoint on Africa and begin looking at the continent as a potential business destination.

“The rest of the world should see Africa as a partner. A place to do business with,” Kagame noted.

The continent is often viewed as a potential beneficiary of donations and handouts as opposed to a business destination.

Highlighting Rwanda’s efforts to improve the business environment and attract investors, the president said that much has been done to see to it that doing business is comfortable.

“In Rwanda we have ensured that doing business is as comfortable. We have done so by looking at improving the regulatory framework, governance, fighting corruption and so on,” he added.

He noted that the government has also made efforts to reduce the cost of doing business for the private sector.

Rwanda has also sought partnerships in undertaking various ventures inspired by the understanding that the country cannot succeed alone, Kagame told the audience.

“We are aware that we can’t do everything, so where we are unable to succeed alone, we seek partnerships elsewhere,” he noted.

Rwanda has also embarked on an industrialization path to see the country produce more products locally as opposed to solely relying on imports.

“We have to build on the fact that many things can be done at home. We have to industrialize. This should be the mindset. Whatever we do must be done to the highest standards, in order to render it competitive in price and quality,” the president said.

Rwandan and African products in general, Kagame said can compete on a global scale.

President Kagame had earlier in the day attended the opening session of the UN General Assembly.

On the sidelines of the UNGA, the president has also held meetings with a number of world leaders including Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Belgium Charles Michel and French President Emmanuel Macron.

MPs Scuffle As Age Limit Debate Rages On

Photo: Solomon Arinaitwe/Daily Monitor

Police officers intervene in the fight between Ayivu County MP, Bernard Atiku and Arua Municipality MP, Ibrahim Abiriga, one of the MPs supporting the lifting of presidential age limit.

By Monitor Reporter

As the debate on the contentious planned lifting of the presidential age limit escalate, some politicians have decided to settle their differences physically.

Ayivu County MP, Mr Bernard Atiku was on Tuesday spotted scuffling with Arua Municipality MP, Mr Ibrahim Abiriga, one of the MPs supporting the lifting of presidential age-limit.

When contacted, Mr Atiku said the scuffle ensued after Mr Abiriga accused him of hiring youth to attack him (Abiriga) during the Saturday football match between Onduparaka and Maroons FC in Luzira.

“I was walking out of Parliament to pick some documents in my car and I found Abiriga standing with a group of journalists on the steps of Parliament. Then Hon. [David] Abala (Ngora County) stopped me to inquire about some information. As I was talking to him, I heard Abiriga abusing me. Then as I moved closer to ask what he was saying, Abiriga started abusing me that I’m a stupid fellow and a fool,” he said.

Mr Atiku said: “He (Abiriga) claims that I bought youth to abuse him during the game of Onduparaka and Maroons FC in Luzira. When I tried to explain to Abiriga that I was not at the game on Saturday, he insisted that I was there as attacked me. I pushed him away and that’s when police moved in to separate us.”

By the time of filing this story, Mr Abiriga could not be reached for a comment as his known telephone numbers were off.

Meanwhile, Parliament will discuss a motion on the presidential age limit on Thursday.

The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Oulanyah, says he received a notice from a Member of Parliament requesting to present a motion to the House to make some recommendations to government on the presidential age limit.

Mr Oulanyah says he spoke to the speaker, Ms Rebecca Kadaga on Monday morning on the motion and received a copy of the motion the same day in the evening signed by three legislators. He says a second notice of motion was presented to the Speaker from another member of the House on Wednesday morning.

However, Mr Oualnyah says all the motions relating to the age limit debate will not come to the floor of Parliament until when he meets the Speaker to discuss the notices on Thursday morning.

He says if need be, the Business Committee will be given time to meet and handle the matter.

Speaker Oulanyah, however, says the motions will be included on the order paper if it is decided by the authority of the speaker. He cautions legislators against exciting the public on the matter.

Last week, about 240 MPs aligned to the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party endorsed a proposal to repeal Article 102 (b), which restricts the presidential age to be between 35 and 75 years.

The move is allegedly aimed at paving way for President Museveni to seek another term of office since he will be above 75 years in 2021.

On Friday, Cabinet also endorsed a proposal by the Igara West MP, Mr Raphael Magyezi to table a private member’s bill on the floor of Parliament on the matter.

The debate on the presidential age limit has raised concern across the country leading to protests by a section of Ugandans against the proposed amendment.

On Monday, police picked up 14 youth activists belonging to group dubbed “The Alternative” for staging protests against the proposal.

Police have also summoned four legislators including Mr Muhammad Nsereko, Mr Barnabas Tinkasimire, Mr Theodore Ssekikubo and Mr Allan Ssewanyana, some of the legislators opposed to the lifting of age limit, for allegedly inciting violence.

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