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    Soliton Telmec Top Bosses’ Shocking Salary Lists Leak – Kenyan Company Milking Ugandans



    By Otim Nape


    As promised we are back to update our scandal involving NITA-Uganda and Soliton Telmec the Kenyan company that was recently added another 10 years to continue providing very expensive internet bandwidth to the government of Uganda, its ministries departments and agencies.

    As earlier reported, the contract has a number of problems including exceeding the best practice principle period averaging between 2 to 5 years. It was also not based on any assessment of Soliton’s past performance as there were no Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that the NITA top management relied on. Reliable sources say NITA hasn’t been very keen to enforce the government of Uganda’s rights and entitlements under the contract including ensuring knowledge transfer whereby 80% of the employees must be Ugandans.

    It’s further revealed that on getting the NITA deal, Soliton Telmec bosses even got better pay and salary increment because of the windfall that resulted from the Ugandan internet deal.

    Based in Soliton Park North Road Nairobi, Soliton has previously worked for Kenya Data Networks Ltd on Metropolitan Fiber Developments and the total project was worth USD24.6m. That was in 2010 and the senior implementation staff were Abdirahman Sheikh Hassan Bashir, Amin Mohamed Hamdi and Lawrence Ochieng. In 2011, Soliton did work for Safaricom in Kenya regarding Metro Developments countrywide for USD3.4M and another USD7.7m. All this information is contained in confidential leaked NITA documents. In 2010, Soliton also did work for Frontier Optical Networks at USD4.5m.

    The Shocking Salaries- Forget about the people like Jennifer Musisi, Allen Kagina, Richard Byarugaba and others that we thought earn a lot of money. At Soliton, the top managers are in their own category after all their cash cow NITA is still alive and kicking. The guys earn in dollars and the top earning official is the CEO Abdirahman Omar Sheikh whose take home per month is USD14,586 (which is more than 58m in Ugandan money)In the year the CEO bags USD175,033 which is just net salary before you factor in allowances and other benefits. The lowest paid Soliton employee, according to the salary lists contained in the leaked NITA documents, is the sales and marketing executive category where each worker earns USD2,431 (more than 9.7m Uganda shillings) and is annually entitled to USD29,172 and that is just the retainer for these sales executives because their earning is mostly from the commission which is a percentage of the deals they bring in. Soliton insiders say the company doesn’t worry about sustainability as long as the plentiful NITA taps remain open.

    About Soliton top executives- the following is the short profile, qualifications, experience of the company’s top bosses and how they are remunerated;

    Soliton Group CEO, Eng. Abdirahman Omar Sheikh

    Abdirahman Omar Sheikh-As the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Omar is the overall Soliton team leader in Uganda and was heavily involved in securing the NITA deal having realized the Uganda IT authority giants were sleeping and it was easy to impose very harsh contract provisions on them. In August 2012, it was Omar who sat down with NITA ED James Saka and signed the contract on behalf of Soliton Telmec which is clearly a Kenyan company operating in total disregard of BuBu that requires a lot of local content absorption in such big contracts. The two witnesses to the contract signing were Stella Alibateese the NITA Director in charge of Regulations and Legal Services and Mahat M Somane, the lawyer for Soliton operating on P.O. Box 40111-00100 Nairobi Kenya. It’s very clear the Kenyan negotiated a very good deal having clearly seen the NITA team representing Uganda weren’t acting in a very patriotic way. Omar’s negotiation skills ensured Soliton would share 50% of all the revenues collected (this is over USD27m per year) plus many other benefits like charging each Cisco switch at USD2600 (it’s at 1.4m on open market) and each manhole installed at USD13000 (MTN buys the same at 400,000). NITA is also charged USD1300 per each Building Entry (BE) and yet MTN is charged zero for doing the same work by the same company. It appears losses they made with MTN if any, are recouped through cheating GoU through NITA. Soliton also charges NITA/GoU USD650 per optical network unit (ONU) yet the same costs just USD50 on the open market! You can imagine all that cheating to GoU!! There are also big questions regarding which entities use our NBI to transport internet bandwidth. From this aspect alone, millions of dollars is annually collected and the exact details are restricted to Soliton and the three top most powerful bosses at NITA (Peter Kahigi, Vivian Dambya and ED James Saka). Stakeholders want a forensic audit in that area to establish the exact amount government annually loses to Soliton. Soliton is also paid colossal sums of money in dubious cable relocation and extensions whereby USD26 is paid per meter and yet MTN pays only USD11 to the same Soliton Company doing the same amount of work. Most often, NITA top bosses who are supposed to keenly scrutinize these things are ever on the plane enjoying expensive trips, costly air tickets and travel allowances. We have much documentation on these travels to which destinations and the allowances earned and it will be shared here in the coming days. The contract also allows Soliton to charge the transport fee USD200 per mbps carried on the NBI which Uganda government owns and maintains. Every month, Soliton makes more than USD800,000 from this transport fees alone since the government MDAs use not less than 3800 mbps per month. The Kenyan CEO outsmarted Ugandans in NITA further by ensuring Soliton was given free fiber cable equipment to lay the connection between Masaka and Katuna yet the government of Uganda (NITA) was made to pay for the cable equipment it already owned. This clearly shows that Abdirahman Omar Sheikh (if he exists at all) must be a very shrewd negotiator and his company is ever generously rewarding him. Leaked NITA documents show that Abdirahman Omar Sheikh’s annual salary is USD175,033 and monthly its USD14,586 (which is more than 58m per month in Ugandan money). He has worked with Soliton for more than 20 years. He is the overall person and the authorized Soliton representative according to the leaked NITA documents. He was born on 8th Sept 1965 and is Kenyan national and electrical engineer by training. He is a member of the Kenyan Engineers Registration Board and this makes NITA bosses think he is highly qualified and no Ugandan can match his qualifications. He has worked in the telecom industry for over 25 years both as an engineer and manager. He has a Bsc in Mathematics which Kaguta M7 the President would call a flat course. Gratefully the Soliton CEO has much more when it comes to qualifications; he has a Bsc in Electrical and Electronics and he has served Soliton as CEO since 2004 todate. He has also previously worked with Global Telecomm Ltd as Business Development Manager (1995-1996); then Telkom Kenya Ltd as CEO (1994-1995) and Kenya Postal & Telecommunications Ltd as a pupil engineer (1992-1994). He is a founder of Soliton Systems House and was their CEO from 2004 to 2007. He speaks fluent English and Kiswahili but these are qualifications many better Ugandan managers have and much more, implying the Soliton CEO can’t claim to be exceptionally qualified.

    2-Amin Abdi Ali-She is the Soliton Chief Finance Officer (CFO) and earns from the NITA-Soliton deal USD102,103 annually which comes to the monthly salary of USD8,508 which comes to more than 34m in Ugandan currently. This is just the net salary when the other juicy allowances aren’t counted.  The CFO is a Bcom graduate and has ACCA qualifications and 7 years experience of working with Datacom and telecom sectors. He was born on 20th November 1978 and he is Kenyan and has worked with Soliton for 8 years now and is a Bcom graduate but also has a BMA. He has more than 12 years of doing accounting work in the Datacom and telecom setting. He is responsible for the overall financial performance of the company to make sure the multi-billion NITA deal is exhaustively exploited since telecom industry sources say there is no other country in East Africa where Soliton Telmec could ever get a deal so lucrative like NITA’s. Abdi Ali has previously worked with Zawan Insurance Broker as their financial accountant (February 2004-November 2005); Sahannet Ltd as F&A Manager (Dec 2005-June 2007) and Old Cambrian Ltd as a consultant (July 2007-March 2008) and after that he joined Soliton as CFO in April 2008 and this was at a time the company’s sales teams had started smelling the NITA deal in Uganda.  He fluently does English and Kiswahili.

    3-Ali Maawly-The Chief Technical Officer is a graduate of Bsc Computer Science and has 8 years experience in datacom and telecom sectors. He was born on 4th April 1980 and is a telecom engineer by training. He is a Kenyan citizen too and in the Soliton-NITA deal, he is responsible for ensuring all technical aspects are complied with. He has telecom and datacom experience of 13 years of working on projects for wireless, fiber transmission and network support applications. He has an MBA and a Bsc in Computer Science. He has previously worked with Kenya Data Networks as NOC Controller (2004-2010) and quit in 2011 to join Soliton Telmec when the NITA deal seemed imminent and was instantly elevated to Chief Technical Officer. He fluently speaks English and Kiswahili. His full names, on some of his documents, are Ali Mohammed Ali-Maawly.   He earns as follows; USD102,103 annually and he monthly pockets USD8,508 which come to more than 34m in Ugandan currently. This is just the net salary when the other juicy allowances aren’t counted.

    4-Fatuma Omar-she is the Chief Operating Officer for Soliton and a graduate of BBA. She has 7 years experience in telecom environment in administration and HR areas. Her profession is administration and was, according to leaked NITA documents, born on 18th June 1980. She is a Kenyan by nationality just like Abdirahman the CEO. She has worked with Soliton for 13 years and speaks fluent English and Kiswahili. She has a BBA (HRM) and an MBA; joined Soliton in June 2005 as office administrator and later became GM in 2009 up to 2012 when the NITA deal came in and she was elevated to COO. She earns as follows from the NITA-Soliton deal; USD102,103 annually and she monthly pockets USD8,508 which come to more than 34m in Ugandan currently. This is just the net salary when the other juicy allowances aren’t counted.

    5-Hellen Longwe-She is the Chief Marketing Officer who oversees overall sales and marketing of Soliton products. She is a graduate of Bsc in Business Administration and has 9 years of experience in Datacom and Telecom sectors. She is Kenyan and was born on 22nd October 1970 and has worked with Soliton for 9 years. She has an Executive Diploma in Sales & Marketing and is a certified project manager. Leaked NITA documents show her employment record as follows; Soliton Telmec as project manager (May 2008-May 2009), Soliton Telmec as General Manager Operations (June 2008-December 2010) and Soliton Telmec as GM Marketing and Sales (January 2011-todate).  From the NITA-Soliton deal, she annually earns USD102,103 and she monthly pockets USD8,508 which come to more than 34m in Ugandan currency. This is just the net salary when the other juicy allowances aren’t counted.

    Other top Soliton Telmec company bosses who are swimming in Uganda taxpayers’ money are as follows;

    6 James Mburu-who is the head of planning and is a graduate of Bsc Telecoms and IT and boasts of 8 years experience in datacom industry.

    7 Iman Dahir- who is the head of implementation of programmes and is a graduate of computer science with 5 years experience in telecom sector.

    8-Zahir Miyanji-who is the head of operations is a graduate of Bsc Technology electronics and communication engineering with 8 years experience in datacom sector as of 2016.

    9-Nixon Lemlem-who is the head of quality assurance at Soliton and is a graduate of Bsc Geospatial Engineering with 5 years of experience in planning work. The contract requires that Soliton Telmec hires local staff (more than 80%) and ensure knowledge transfer which they haven’t done because when you visit their office, you see foreigners only and rarely any Ugandan is visible in top management positions.


    Salary list of top Soliton managers_ lowest paid is a sales rep earning over 9.7m ($2,431 monthly_ $29,172 annually)


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    How Bad Economy, Politics Forced Monitor Publications MD Glencross To Seek Early Retirement, New Vision’s Don Wanyama Warns Shareholders…



    NMG Managing Director Tony Glencross

    Professor Samuel Sejjaaka, the chairman Board of Directors Nation Media Group (NGM), the publishers of Daily monitor newspaper revealed that the search for the company’s Managing Director has kicked off after Tony Glencross tendered in his early retirement prayer and it was allowed.

    In the Statement, Sejjaaka stated that effective from 31st December, 2023, Glencross will be officially retiring and as per now, the board is undertaking a competitive recruitment process to identify a suitable replacement.

    South African born Glencross joined Monitor Publication in 2015 and has spearheaded its transformation from print media company to a multimedia company.

    Highly placed sources at Nation Media told theGrapevine that politics and the bad economy forced Glenscross, a former Commercial Officer at Vission Group, to retire. A source said that the company has failed to recover from the economic shock that many companies are currently suffering from as a result of the Covid-19 long lockdowns and the Russia-Ukraine war.

    The monitor paper circulation has since declined because the pockets of most readers are yawning due to the bad economy.

    There is also the issue of bad politics. Insiders allege that Glencross has been working under pressure especially from top government officials who are always attacking the company for working against the government.

    On several occasions, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni declared Monitor a ‘bad paper’ to the extent of suing the publication over defamation.

    In Monitor’s legal battle with Museveni, Justice Musa Ssekaana of the Civil Division of the High Court ordered them to pay Shs300m as damages to the President.

    Museveni always alleges that Monitor publication is working for bad foreign agents.

    A source at Monitor further revealed that the newspaper’s private advertisement has dropped yet government is also taking long to pay for their adverts.

    Glencross’ early retirement comes days after New Vision Managing Director Don Wanyama warned the company’s current and prospective shareholders of an impending loss for the year 2022/2023.

    Wanyama based his announcement on the “preliminary assessment” of the company’s performance by the Board of Directors, which is expected to return a loss for the year.

    He explained that the company’s bad performance is as a result of the recent price hikes of inputs like; newsprint and other raw material inputs resulting from global supply chain disruptions.

    He added that the company’s revenues are dominated by printing which accounts for almost half, followed by broadcasting (radio and television) outlets, commercial printing and others.

    “The main contributor to this performance is the challenging business environment due to slow business recovery from the COVID-19 impact on newspaper sales and advertising revenue spent across the different platforms,”  Wanyama stated.

    Highly placed sources at both Monitor and New Vision intimated to theGrapevine that plans are underway to cut on the number of staff and costs of operations.


    By Sengooba Alirabaki


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    Businessman Sentongo Suffers Setback In Legal Battle To Save His Multibillion Empire: Bank Threats To Auction Buildings Over Shs10bn Debt…



    Businessman Haruna Sentongo and his Segawa Market building

    City businessman Haruna Sentongo has suffered a setback in the legal battle to save his multimillion empire which is under threat of being auctioned by I&M Bank formerly Orient bank over a Shs10bn debt.

    Justice Harriet Grace Magala of the Commercial Division of the High Court dismissed with cost the application filed by Sentongo seeking a court order staying taxation proceedings against him until the determination of his appeal at the Court of Appeal.

    In his affidavit, Sentongo challenged the proceedings of taxation against him explaining that he challenged the order for payment of costs in his Appeal and he has secured the interim order staying the execution of the orders of the lower court.

    He accused the bank of abusing the court process by filing the bill of costs which will irremediably prejudice to his appeal.

    He pleaded with court to exercise its inherent powers to stay the execution proceedings of the bank’s bill of costs because if it is allowed, it is going to be a  pivotal ground on his appeal and render the appeal nugatory and academic.

    The bank protested the application through the affidavit in reply deposed by Cheguvera Mushemeza, the Legal Officer of the bank, stating that the application for stay of execution is an abuse of court process.

    Mushemeza explained to the court that the court of appeal granted Sentongo a conditional stay but he failed to comply with it. He added that the court of appeal issued an interim injunction against the sale of the mortgaged property and an interim stay of execution of the Decree.

    He explained that the Court partially allowed the application but declined to grant a stay of execution and it is the ground they based on to file and serve their bill of costs in the consolidated suits which was scheduled for taxation on the 7th June 2023.

    He stated that prior to the taxation hearing date, Sentongo was invited for a pre- taxation hearing on the 5th June 2023 but he either declined or failed to attend.

    In her ruling over the matter, Justice Magala explained that her court cannot entertain Sentongo’s application because he is in contempt of the court order issued against him.

    “The applicant therefore came to court with unclean hands. For that reason, the court cannot exercise its judicial discretion in the Applicant’s favor unless he has purged himself of the contempt. In the result, this Application is dismissed with costs to the Respondent,” Justice Magala ruled.

    Sentongo is challenging the decision by the Commercial Division of the High Court which dismissed his case challenging the bank’s action to auction his commercial property known as Segawa Market, on land situated on Kibuga Block 12 Plots 250 and 251, Kisenyi Kampala city over Shs10bn debt.

    Court records indicate that in 2015, Sentongo approached the bank for a financial facility for completion of the commercial blocks for Segawa Market which was to be rented out to tenants to derive rental income.

    Both parties executed a facility letter dated 22nd February, 2016, for a Loan of Shs5bn and it was agreed that the facility would only be serviced through rent collections from the market if the bank funded the development.

    Sentongo claims that the bank breached the facility contract by failing to disburse the agreed sums of monies.

    Court documents show that Sentongo told the Commercial Division of the High Court that the ban would purport to credit his bank account, and synonymously liquidate the loan, paying itself back immediately with the sums credited, and the sums it would repay itself were always reflected as “Loan amounts recovered”.

    The bank on the other hand, according to court documents claimed that between February to October 2016, Sentongo was granted several loan facilities and at his request, they were consolidated into one term loan with a single monthly instalment amortized for a period of five years.

    He however, failed to meet his loan repayment obligations consequent upon which the bank issued him two notices of default.

    The bank further claimed that when they started the process of recovering their sum of Shs10bn, Sentongo decided to institute a lawsuit and was defeated at the High Court. He appealed at the higher court.


    By Grapevine Reporters


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    OPINION: World Bank-Aid Cuts Exposed Neo-Colonialism Dependency…



    Minister Dr. Sam Mayanja

    The World Bank’ recent decision to pause lending to Uganda because of the recently passed Anti-homosexuality Act exhibits the continued impact of neo-colonialism on the economic growth of countries that are dependent on international financing and foreign aid.

    The basis of the World Bank decision was that the Uganda Anti-homosexuality Act fundamentally contradicted the World Bank Group’s values. There was also pressure exerted on the World Bank from several groups and countries urging “specific, concrete and timely actions” including 170 civil groups, urging suspension of future lending.   In June 2023, countries imposed travel restrictions on Ugandan officials in response to the Uganda anti-guy legislation.

    Prior to passing this law, President Museveni had explained the history and culture of Ugandans as a huge influence in the decision making on whether to pass this bill into law. He explained that the basis of the decision making on legislative issues that fundamentally impact the moral turpitude of Uganda was solely based on internal evaluation of the relevance of the law.

    Former President of Ghana the late Kwame Nkrumah observed that the practice of neo-colonialism “means power without responsibility and for those who suffer from it, it means exploitation without redress”. Neo-colonialism is accordingly more dangerous than colonialism. Whereas colonialism required a physical occupation of territory, in neo-colonialism, there is no physical presence in the neo-colonial state. It is invisible and secretive.

    Therefore when Uganda, an independent state arrives at a decision to enact a law that contradicts the way of life of the West, the World Bank has the liberty to make a decision to stop supporting its developments and investments in cahoots with international capital. To Neo-colonialism it is insignificant that the legislation respects the general cultural values, and moral turpitude of Ugandans.

    President Museveni has continued to reject international criticism of the legislation, and has defended the law as necessary to stop the LGBTQ community from trying to degrade the moral turpitude of Ugandans. This however has had no tangible effect on those who hold the strings of International capital. To neo-colonialism, the views of a Head of State of an independent nation has no consequence as long as it is not the position agreeable to International capital entities. Africa cannot therefore make a political or legislative decision without the major influence of international capital in the decision making process of the different organs of government, whether legislative or executive.

    Neo-colonialism will not allow Africa to form market blocks with Banking and monetary systems which can compete globally. Consequently Africa will continue to be an easy catch for neo-colonialism whose hidden hand will continue to keep the continent divided into several small states which are unable to run their own affairs from a sound economic base capable of competing globally.

    The prices of the raw materials, as well as the finished goods of Africa are determined by the neo-colonial system. The African economics themselves are not complimentary. They produce what they do not consume, and consume what they do not produce. The export-import system itself is done through a banking system, shipping and insurance network, controlled by neo-colonialism.

    The value of the currency of African countries being dependent on the export value of its raw materials is eternally lower compared to those of the former colonial powers. It is constantly being devalued making it difficult for African countries to have the same purchasing power as the neo-colonial powers. Yet African countries must borrow and pay back through the neo-colonial currency with interests and penalties imposed by the international monetary systems domiciled and controlled from the neo-colonial capitals.

    The central Banks which control the fiscal policies of African states supervise Commercial Banks on the basis of best monetary criteria-the criteria itself determined by the neo-colonial powers.

    Africa is the largest recipient of foreign aid, but this aid is given through a neo-colonialism system which neither promotes democracy nor economic development. Instead, as Moyo opined in Moyo, D. (2009). Dead aid: “aid has helped to make the poor poorer, and growth slower. Millions in Africa are poorer today because of aid; misery and poverty have not ended but have increased. Aid has been and continues to be an unmitigated political, economic, and humanitarian disaster.”

    Neo-colonialism has ensured that the gamut of foreign aid put Africa under a debt servicing crisis-the debt trap. Africa is poor and its poverty undermines political autonomy to choose and decide on economic models, development programs and independent political and legislative structures.

    African aid packages have been ostensibly justified as fostering economic growth and political transformations. Contrary to such benevolent expectations, Africa has failed to achieve economic development and democracy. Rather poverty, political instability, and structural aid-dependence remains its defining hallmark.

    International bilateral and multilateral aid is for achieving vested interests rather than genuine motivation for Africa’s progress. Without an African common market with a banking system able to compete globally, Africa is clenching chains around its bosom, believing that it is embracing freedom. Foreign aid for Africa is an instrument of imperialism and domination.

    Dr. Sam Mayanja

    Minister of State for Lands


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