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MTN WOES: Furious M7 Orders CMI, ESO To Kick Off Investigations Into The Relationship Between MTN GM Katamba And Jailed Police Boss Nixon Agasirwe

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Former MTN General Manager Anthony Katamba

President Museveni has ordered the Chieftaincy for Military Intelligence (CMI) and the External Security Organisation (ESO) to investigate the relationship between Former MTN General Manager
Anthony Katamba and jailed police boss Nixon Agasirwe.

Katamba fled the country to seek asylum in Scandinavian countries after receiving several security tip offs from some of his colleagues in security that he was going to be arrested for giving wrong information to security.

Multiple sources in CMI and Special Forces Command (SFC) have told the Grapevine that the president has relied on those reports to exonerate the deported MTN Chief Executive officer Wim Vanhelleputte.

“The president was very furious because he established from different security reports that he was fooled on the MTN matter. The president was very furious and instructed CMI commander Col. Abel Kanduho to immediately start investigating Katamba,” our source revealed.

The highly respected security operative told this website that Katamba, the former General Manager for Corporate Services at MTN was the one misinforming security agencies by giving them wrong information concerning some of his colleagues for his personal gain.

Our sources disclosed that when Katamba developed misunderstandings with top MTN management over some internal issues, he decided to malice and marline them before government and security officials that they were carrying out activities that were going to jeopardize national security. Katamba told these officials that MTN was being used to spy for one of the hostile neighbouring country. 

“That man Katamba thought that he is the big man in MTN because of his closeness to the MTN board chairman Charles Mbiire. He learnt of his dismissal from MTN and he vowed to fight and make sure all expatriates at the facility are deported. He boasted before his friends at Kampala club that he is the only top local employee in MTN,” another source added.

Security operatives told the Grapevine that Katamba even fed security with wrong information that led to the storming of MTN’s center in Mutundwe, a Kampala suburb.

Vanhelleputte was deported with three other senior managers who included; Chief Marketing Officer, Olivier Prentout, the Mobile Money General Manager Elsa Mussolini and General Manager for sales and distribution Annie Tabura. Vanhelleputta challenged his illegal deportation at the High Court civil Division.

KATAMBA PLACED IN AGASIRWE’S RACKET

Our sources further revealed that after reading various security reports on the MTN saga, the president established that there was a good relationship between General Kale Kayihura’s blue eyed boy SSP Nixon Agasirwe and Katamba. One of the well elaborated report to the president indicated that there were a lot of suspicious dealings which were going on between Katamba and Agasirwe. The investigators also based reports on the judgment of High Court anti-corruption Division judge Lawrence Gidudu, in the 2015 case of Richard Mwami and others, concerning the embezzlement of over 6 billion shillings. 

Sentongo (who was Mwami’s witness) testified that after arresting him, he was taken to a room at the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) in Kireka. Minutes later Agasirwe entered the room in company of Katamba. Sentongo testified that Agasirwe and Katamba told him to pin Mwami that he stole the Shs6bn, when he refused, he was brutally tortured.

Both Katamba and Agasirwe were later accused of torturing Sentongo.  Currently, Agasirwe is detained with other top police officers at Makindye barracks after being charged by the Court martial on espionage and kidnap charges. The president has tasked CMI to dig deeper into the dealings between Katamba and Agasirwe.

KATAMBA PINNED FOR STAGING AN ASSASINATION

Sources further told this website that one and half month’s back, Katamba reported to police that some people wanted him dead.

Katamba alleged that unknown gunmen attacked him at his Kiwatule home at around 3:00am. He stated that he escaped through the gate at the back of his house and narrowly survived being killed. Museveni also ordered the investigators to find out whether Katamba was attacked, who the attackers were plus their motive.

A source revealed that the president was briefed in the MTN security report that Katamba staged the alleged assassination to avoid being charged with espionage. He also wanted to use the alleged attack to seek asylum because he got information from his security friends that he was under investigation.

KATAMBA FLEES THE COUNTRY

Credible sources further told this website that two weeks ago, Katamba fled to Scandinavian countries. We were informed that Katamba is currently seeking asylum from one of the Scandinavian countries. We talked to Katamba’s friends who he usually spends time with at Kampala Club and Golf Course, they revealed that they have spent two weeks without seeing him.

“I have spent a week without seeing my friend Katamba, I don’t know whether he left the country,” one of Katamba’s friends, who we found at the Golf Course playground told us.

We tried to talk Katamba’s girlfriend but he refused to tell us the whereabouts of her hubby. We also tried to call Katamba’s known phone number but it was not going through.

By Jamil Lutakome

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NOT OVER YET: Bank Of Uganda Files Notice Of Appeal Challenging Judge Wangutusi’s Judgment, They Want Sudhir To Vomit Shs397 Billion..

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BOU Governor Tumusiime Mutebile and Sudhir Ruparelia

The Central Bank through their lawyers of Byamugisha and company Advocates have filed a notice of appeal in the court of appeal challenging High Court commercial division judge David Wangutusi‘s judgment to recover over 100 million dollars (Shs397 billion) from tycoon Sudhir Ruparelia and Meera  Investment Limited. 

On Monday, The Head of Commercial Court, David Wangutusi dismissed a case in which Bank of Uganda (BoU) Sudhir Ruparelia for allegedly fleecing his own bank (Crane Bank in receivership) of Shs397 billion in fraudulent transactions. The Central Bank was seeking to recover the Shs397bn.

Wangutusi also ordered BoU to pay Sudhir’s legal costs. In his ruling, Wangutusi observed that Crane Bank in receivership at the time of instituting the commercial suit against the businessman and his Meera Investments Company, was none existent, hence never had powers to sue.

Wangutusi added that Bank of Uganda lacked legal basis to sue Sudhir for allegedly transferring sums money from the internal accounts of the defunct Crane Bank which were not mapped on the financial institution’s balance sheet.  BOU claims that the learned judge errored when he dismissed their suit because there was credible evidence that Sudhir withdrew 80,000,000 dollars from Crane Bank as payments to persons, companies and entities for Sudhir’s benefits. 

 The central bank further claims that Sudhir withdraw Us9.27m through Technology Associates which has no contract with Crane Bank or Meera investments. The central bank wants the three justices of the court of appeal to declare that Wangutusi errored in facts and law to dismisses their suit against the city tycoon. The bank claims that Sudhir mismanages the tax payer’s money worth shs400bn which was withdrawn from the treasury to save Crane Bank. 

Tycoon Sudhir celebrated the dismissal of the BOU suit and revealed to journalists that he has defeated BOU mafias who stole his bank.

By Sengooba Alirabaki

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OPINION: Free Trade For African Countries: Continental Block Will Spur Trade And Develop Africa

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In his book, “Sowing The Mustard Seed”, Second Edition, President Museveni articulates the case for Pan-Africanism with a slant, in part, to business dividends. “The milk production of Uganda is now 2 billion litres, up from 200 million litres in 1986. Uganda, however, currently, consumes only 800 million litres per annum”. He adds that; “What will happen to the rest then? This is true of bananas, goats, cattle, fruits and other products? Our second layer of saviours are the East Africans, the South Sudanese, the Congolese and other regional partners”.

The President has been, and remains a strong advocate of regional integration in Africa. Now, further to the likes of EAC and COMESA, the big one is here. The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) endorsed by African Union (AU) Member States in Kigali, in March 2018, takes effect next year. This, after the ratification of the operational aspects of AfCFTA, at an AU extra-ordinary Summit in Niamey, Niger on 7th July 2019 – The New Vision, 20th July 2019.

The essence of Niamey pact is that Africa’s Free Trade Area will be operational effective July 2020. In Niamey, the necessary instruments were signed by the required minimum 22 AU Member States, including Uganda. It is a major break-through for business across the continent. With 55 Member countries, Africa’s Free Trade Area will dwarf ALL trading blocks, including the EU, in terms of membership. 

AfCFTA is bringing together a combined market of 1.2 billion people and economies with an aggregate GDP of USD 2.5 trillion. It is a huge market under which countries in Africa, will trade with each other, minus tariff barriers. AfCFTA will spur industrialization, grow economies, create jobs, strengthen indigenous capabilities and ease Africa’s vulnerability to external trading shocks.

For Uganda, niche items include fresh, organic grain foodstuffs, which have ready market in countries like Congo, Angola, Senegal, Namibia and the Saharan, North African Countries. Our other niche items include milk, fruits, fish, beef and household consumer items. Uganda is also progressively building capacity in oil and gas and services like tourism and ICT innovations, from which we stand to reap, among others. 

Intra-Africa business will slash Africa’s trade deficit, considering the continent imports food items alone, worth USD 60 billion annually. Relatedly, under the current skewed trade regime, intra-Africa business is at 16% while that with Europe, for instance, is at 65%.

Therefore, the AfCFTA will unlock Africa’s massive economic potential, right from the short term. Indeed, intra-African trade is now projected to rise to 60% by 2022. Retaining the USD 60 billion Africa is “donating” to Europe in annual food imports, will greatly boost the continent socio-economically.

In a riveting address, at a Nelson Mandela Memorial Lecture at Makerere University on 31st August 2017, President Museveni submitted that; “Africa is a huge continent with a land area of 11.7 million square miles, which makes it 12 times bigger than India, 4 times bigger than USA and China each and more than 2 times the size of Russia. We are somewhat working on economic integration through the Regional Economic Communities; although we should be more religious and focused on this issue”. 

Credit to him and other regional leaders for bringing AfCTFA to life. We should, therefore, position Uganda tap into this huge continental market. Priority considerations include accelerating industrialisation, improving product/service value chains, fast-tracking oil, gas, energy and minerals’ development. Others are expanding transport and ICT infrastructure, enhancing agricultural production and aligning our fiscal policies, as may be applicable.

Moses Watasa

Commissioner, Communication and Information Dissemination

MINISTRY OF ICT & NATIONAL GUIDANCE

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Battle For Supremacy At Vision Group As Bukedde News Editor Fires His Deputy’s ‘Diehard’ Reporters

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All is not well at Robert Kabushenga’s Vision Group premises especially Bukedde Newspaper newsroom.

According to multiple sources from the industrial area based printing and publishing house, the war is between Bukedde news editor Ssalongo Richard Kayira and his deputy Semei Wesaali.

Sources told the Grapevine that the silent war erupted when Kayira, the head of the news room published an internal memo with a list of news reporters fired from Bukedde newspaper.  According to sources, Kayira also ordered the security at the gate not to allow the journalists on the list to enter the company premises.

“The list was published but they did not inform us that we were going to be fired,” one of the journalists on the list complained.

The affected journalists petitioned their boss Godfrey Kulubya the head of all the local newspapers at Vision Group.  In their petition, the over 50 reporters told Kulubya that the list is discriminative.

‘The list targeted some individuals because they are diehards to editor Semei Wesaali. Kayira thinks that they are helping him take his position,” one of the reporters who petitioned Kulubya stated. They further explained to Kulubya that there are names of people which were left out yet they are poor performers when compared to some of the people on the list, they even cited some names.

Kulubya was told that most of the journalists left out were working under Kayira in his new DGF project.

On Monday this week, Kulubya called an emergency meeting in Bukedde new room and asked for a written explanation from Kayira why he fired staff without his knowledge or that of the Chief Executive Officer Robert Kabushenga.  Kulubya denounced the list and asked the journalists in the meeting to tell their friends who were fired to come back and work with immediate effect.

“For your information the competition is high so you cannot start firing staff, if it is necessary, let us follow the necessary procedures,” Kulubya was quoted telling the newsroom.

Kulubya further told the meeting that they have plans of laying off a number of reporters so that they can remain with a few competitive ones.

Sources told this website that Vision group bosses are trying to set up new rules where journalists multi task for the various platforms.

According to the new plan, a journalist, when assigned to cover a story, is supposed to file it for New Vision newspaper, Bukedde newspaper, Bukedde radio and Bukedde TV.

When the news about the new plan fell in the ears of reporters, some panicked and bought video cameras and recorders to quickly adapt to the new rules.

When the Grapevine talked to some of the reporters who were not on the list, they disclosed that the journalists who were fired are lazy and don’t want to work. They are just using Bukedde newspaper as an address to extort money from the public.  

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