Over the past few months, Evelyn Anite has gained new prominence due to her stern insistence to audit struggling Uganda Telecom, much to the resentment of several senior government officials that have insisted that the due process has to go through court.
Those opposed to her approach include Registrar General Bemanya Twebaze, also the chief executive officer of the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) and current UTL administrator; the Attorney General’s office as well as Keith Muhakanizi, the secretary to the treasury.
Her public feud with those opposed to her roadmap for UTL reached epic proportions on Monday when the minister of state for Privatisation and Investment called a press conference to claim there is a clique of mafia out to finish her.
However, it later emerged that her latest media outcry was prompted by a whistle-blower’s letter to the IGG and the head of State House Anti-Corruption unit, in which it is alleged Anite clandestinely travelled to Mauritius in order to strike a deal with investors seeking to take over UTL.
Below is a slightly abridged version of the whistle-blower’s letter that pins her.
August 9, 2019 Influence peddling, abuse of office and fraud in relation to the administration of Uganda Telecom Limited by Evelyn Anite – minister of state for finance, planning and economic development (Privatisation and Investment) and MP for Koboko Municipality
By a letter dated July 12, Hon Evelyn Anite, sought annual leave from July 16 to August 12 from the Rt Hon Prime Minister through the Honourable Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development. She sought permission to travel to United States of America for graduation after completion of Masters of Arts in International Relations and Diplomacy at Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University and undertake a Senior Executive Program - Africa at Harvard Business School.
Hon David Bahati is stated in the letter as the Minister to handle her duties while away, in essence responsible for her docket. Aboard KLM Airline, the Hon Minister and her husband left for the USA from Entebbe airport on July 15, 2019. After her graduation and commencement of her short study at Harvard, a secret booking was made for her from the USA via France to Mauritius suspiciously, leaving her husband in the USA. The said trip was not booked in Uganda before her departure for USA.
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 $84m.
She later flew back to the USA and back to Uganda to disguise her trip to Mauritius. As you are aware, the Hon Minister has confessed in the media that her point of departure with the Administrator was because he had offered the deal to Teleology Holdings Limited to invest in UTL which had offered $70m compared to Mauritius Telecom Limited which had offered $45m for the assets of the limping Uganda Telecom Limited.
Please note that the offer to Teleology was a cabinet decision to which she is part and bound by the collective responsibility requirement. It is known that a couple of weeks to her stagemanaged discussion of UTL matters in parliament and eventual exchange with the attorney general, a team from Mauritius Telecom was in town exerting pressure for the deal to be closed.
It is also true that the media has been awash with allegations that Hon Anite has received a bribe from Mauritius Telecom to influence awarding them with the UTL deal. Indeed, sources close to the minister indicate that the assets she acquired soon after her dealings with Mauritius Telecom are not commensurate to her earnings as a Member of Parliament and junior Minister.
I find this conduct tantamounting to influence peddling, abuse of office, corruption and conduct unbecoming of a Minister and Member of Parliament. I have reliable information that Hon Anite secretly left the USA around August 4 and travelled to Mauritius via France. She arrived in Mauritius on Monday August 5, where she spent about four (4) days meeting Mauritius Telecom officials.
What was the purpose of her mission, if it was not sealing the illicit deal? The purpose of this letter, therefore, is to request the following:
a) Verify Hon Anite’s secret mission in Mauritius and in particular
i. The timing of her trip to Mauritius following their visit to Uganda and the current crisis regarding UTL
ii. Why the trip was secretly booked, and not part of her initial booking to USA.
iii. Who paid for her ticket to and from Mauritius?
iv. Which of her two passports (Govt and Diplomatic) did she use to travel to Mauritius, and if she changed, what was she hiding?
v. Why she did not declare her intended destination to the Rt Hon Prime Minister and seek permission as required by Public Service Standing Orders and cabinet rules?
vi. Does her mobile telephone number +256782633131, social media activities and travel documents tally with her known itinerary?
b) Investigate her personal interests and why she continued handling official duties on leave, including writing and signing letters pertaining to UTL matters even when she had left Hon Bahati to handle her official duties.
For example; she personally wrote to the Internal Auditor General, the Attorney General and Permanent Secretary and Secretary to Treasury on UTL matters during the said period. All her other official matters were handled by Hon Bahati except UTL matters in which she has personal interest.
This is irregular, considering she was officially on leave.
c) As a Minister, Hon Anite is collectively bound by the cabinet decisions. However, aware of this responsibility, she went on the floor of Parliament to challenge a Cabinet decision which had approved Teleology as the highest bidder. Following the Speaker’s ruling, she went ahead on social media and mainstream media to discuss and challenge a cabinet decision.
This behaviour is unconstitutional and contrary to rules of procedure of Parliament and contravenes collective responsibility.
d) Further, the language and tone of her letters written in official capacity addressing her senior colleagues undermines their offices and sets a bad precedent on how to conduct government business.
Making unsubstantiated allegations against a government she represents is unacceptable. The minister should, therefore, be held responsible for this conduct and indiscipline.
e) Hon Anite has personally leaked official correspondences on her WhatsApp using her mobile telephone: +256782633131, her Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Is this how government business is conducted? Doesn’t this contravene the principle of secrecy, public service standing orders and cabinet rules?
My request, therefore, is that these allegations which have put senior government officials, parliament, cabinet, the President and government as a whole in disrepute, be thoroughly investigated and the Hon Anite be disciplined accordingly. ￼￼￼
Rt Hon Speaker of Parliament
Rt Hon Prime Minister
The Attorney General