The former Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Nandala Mafabi, presented to Parliament overwhelming evidence showing flaws in the management and running of the company, in which government has 31 percent holding.
“Over the past few years, this company has continuously been on a free fall that has reached alarming levels. If nothing is done to rescue it, it could soon cease to exist,” said Nandala Mafabi.
Uganda Telecom is a leading firm in the provision of telecommunication services to government and should not be left to collapse.
In the documents presented during the plenary on Thursday 17 November 2016, Nandala Mafabi cited, non auditing of company accounts; lack of investment in the company and several court cases against the company, as causes of firms eminent collapse.
He also cited company bosses holding meetings in Dubai and Malta, for which the company continues to spend money on tickets and per diem; unequitable pay to staff; sale of property or asset stripping; and overdue payments to Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) and other service providers.
“Despite the network now being very old and requiring an overhaul/replacement, the investors have not invested any money to the company. The last investment was done in 2008,” said Nandala Mafabi adding that, “for the old network and lack of proper maintenance that has resulted into poor services, many customers have abandoned using the company’s services. The customer base has as a result diminished to appalling levels.”
Mafabi added that the company is closing sites across the country even in areas of high demand, while the other service providers like MTN and Airtel are expanding and improving their services.
“At takeover there were about 600 sites providing mobile, fixed line and data services. The network is now vandalized, poorly maintained and has shrunk drastically,” he said.
“Sites are being closed and or cannibalized for spares, fuel and equipment is being stolen/vandalized; the company cannot afford any spares for maintenance and has failed to provide fuel and regularly,” added Mafabi.
Following the presentation, Parliament voted to set up a Select Committee comprising seven MPs to probe the activities of UTL, and to have it report to the plenary in two months. The House also resolved that former Minister of State for Finance (Privatisation), Aston Kajara; and bosses, Stephen Kaboyo, Moses Mwase and James Whilde be barred from leaving the country as the Select Committee carries out investigations on the company.