UTL offices in Kampala | Photo by : East African Van Guard.
UTL offices in Kampala | Photo by : East African Van Guard.

On Thursday, the High court in Kampala appointed the former president of Uganda Law Society; Ms. Ruth Sebatindira as the new administrator of the struggling Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL).

She replaces Nelson Bemanya who was appointed the admin of the telco in 2017 following the exist of UCom — forcing the government to assume total sole control and later in the same year in April that placed the telco under receivership.

Justice Lydia Mugambe made the ruling that Ms. Sebatindira takes charge as UTL new administrator following an application filed by the Uganda Contribution Employees Contributory Pension Scheme (UCECPS) in Dec. 2017 seeking Bemanya be removed from office.

UTL creditors accused Bemanya of failing to perform his roles in regard to collecting the outstanding amounts due to UTL from government departments as well as finding an investor who can recapitalize and operate the telco.

In his defense, Bemanya said he did his best as UTL administrator but only failed to achieve what was expected of him, not because of his inefficiency but that some processes take longer.

Now it is up to to Ms. Sebatindira to source for competent investor(s) that will help bring the telco to its feet. The Observer reported that Mugambe noted that Ms. Ssebatindira possesses sufficient experience and expertise to safeguard the interests of all creditors of the company.

Ms. Ruth Sebatindira appointed as the new administrator of UTL in a ruling made by Justice Lydia Mugambe of the Civil Division of the High Court on Thursday, 2nd January 2020. File Photo/THE INDEPENDENT MAGAZINE
Ms. Ruth Sebatindira appointed as the new administrator of UTL in a ruling made by Justice Lydia Mugambe of the Civil Division of the High Court on Thursday, 2nd January 2020. File Photo/THE INDEPENDENT MAGAZINE

The task here at hand is finding a capable investor to revive the state-owned telco, upgrade its network, have its service license extended by twenty years, and giving its unlimited access to the National Backbone Infrastructure (NBI) project.

In 2018, Afrinet Communications, Mauritius Telecom (MT), Hamilton Telecom, Telecel Global, Baylis Consortium, and Taleology Holdings came out to save the struggling telco with Nigerian-based firm, Taleolgoy Holdings winning the bid.

However, three months later Taleolgoy in February 2019 was reported to have failed to raise the capital to revive UTL.

Taleology had been given up-to Jan. 26th, 2019 to at least pay 10% of USD$71 million to have the firm takeover operations. But they have failed to raise the capital.

The State Minister for Investment and Privatization, Ms. Evelyne Anite was furious. She told the Independent Magazine, quote, “It was wrong to choose this company. It was a waste of time, but it is good to learn a lesson.”

Ms. Anite had favored Mauritius Telecom over Taleology.

Now, Ms. Sebatindira and her team together with the help of the government are seeking for a new investor(s). They were no reports on whether Mauritius Telecom was contacted to take on the offer.