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    What Makes Owebabazi Judith The Most Powerful Babe At Housing Finance Bank… 

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    Save for the short time she left to work for Eco Bank, Owembabazi Judith has worked for Housing Finance Bank (HFB) for most of her life. This has made her turn into the most powerful babe at the Kololo based bank.

    She has seen many MDs come and go and those she has outlived are Nicolas Okwir, Mathias Katamba and Miko Mugabi. She is head marketing but more powerful than even Peace Kabunga who is executive director and her supervisor because marketing falls under her.

    Owembabazi who comes from Mbarara is in her late 40s but owns riches which her agemates, OBs and OGs can only dream about. She owns three apartments in Kampala in places like Kisaasi and Ntinda. She also has a school in Bukoto Gold Bird international school which is a kindergarten for kids from rich families.

    School fees is paid in dollars. Grapevine snoops have been gathering info about this secretive corporate babe and they can now report that she sometime back sold three of her big properties in Kampala to expand her school. And she is a mother of 4 kids, 2 gals and two boys. Her youngest kid is 5 years and one of her best friends is called Allan who even stood for MP some time ago and she was one of the people who put in money. She likes calling him Papa.

    Her other secret is that the guys managing a company called Liquid co ltd like her very much and they fear to annoy her because she uses her connections to get for them business deals. Her other very good friend is called Fox, the branch manager housing finance bank Mukono branch. They used to work together in Kampala branch and through Fox, Owembabazi has a lot of influence in the housing finance bank branch network, when management comes up with a new policy, they have to use her to popularize it or else it fails to be implemented.

    When Okwir was MD, he gave Judith a lot of powers and whatever she recommended, the big man would just sign to get money to facilitate the activity. She one time advised that they open Pearl Lounge for the rich clients at the headquarters and Okwir just signed for her millions of money to import furniture from China. Because she has many connections in the media, Okwir, who likes playing golf and having fan at the golf course would use her to soften editors to make sure bad stories are not written about him and the bank.

    When Okwir left, the next MD was Mathias Katamba who found life hard because Judith didn’t welcome him. Katamba said he wanted to do some restructuring and improve on the professionalism in the marketing department which Judith saw as interference, the two coiled.

    In the end, Judith won because Katamba didn’t last long at housing bank. After Katamba, the new person who became MD was Judith’s workmate Peace Kabunga. This angered Judith to an extent that she would skip her immediate supervisor (Kabunga) and report directly to the ED.

    Judith didn’t like Kabunga because the job she took was supposed to be hers at least according to what her supporters thought.

    Katamba would praise other powerful ladies to be very hard working and this hurt Judith’s supporters at the bank. Katamba praised people like Ivan Kituka, Hope Ekudu, Wycliffe Natuhwera, Martin Mwanje, Peace, Beatrice Ngita, Alice Owor and others as hardworking something Judith looked at as belittling her.

    He would never praise Judith as hard working.  Judith also handles the media buying at housing bank and that is a lucrative job. It makes her have contacts with guys who sell space in newspapers, on TVs, radios and bill boards. She only needs approval of the contracts committee which she always shows value for money and they let her be. Service providers who annoy her will always be very scared until she forgives them because they fear they need her approval to get PR deals in housing bank. She is also incorruptible and service providers fear to involve her in those dirty things of 50 percent cuts or kickback. When they try they know she can report them to police directly.

    Judith has managed to be very powerful because she has a trusted PA called Prima Dona who protects her interests always even when she is away on leave. One time she was away on maternity leave when Okwir was still MD and some bad-mannered members of the department wrote a bad dossier against her which Okwir investigated and trashed as false. The MD must have known the dangers of angering a babe who has so many connections in media and generally the town.

    Judith also has friends in the bank departments which matter a lot. Her best friends and close allies at work include Dorothy Kiyaga, the head of audit who reports directly to the board and not the MD. That means Judith can get any info from the board through her friend which makes her stronger. Kiyaga has been at housing finance for many years like Judith. Medard Mwesigwa, the CFO is also her good friend and ally which means her loyal service providers can’t fail to get paid on time. Deborah Kamugisha, the head HR is her good friend also and that means she can get any info about restructuring quickly before others get to know. Sarah Ahabwe, of the finance dept is her good pal also and they are close. David Twinamatsiko who heads distribution channels is her good ally also and she has to market his new products like master card, mobile banking etc, for the public to understand them and make money for the bank shareholders.

    In the mortgaging department, the powerful babe is tight buddy with two influential managers namely Damalie Barungi for diaspora sales and Yunnus Babwaire. Because Judith is very powerful, housing bank workers like Brian Mutungi, the manager product development, research and agent banking are always working hard to make her happy and win her favors because she is a fearless boss who can defend you even if it means going to the board. That is why Brian Mutungi can willingly carry her bag or even open and reply her emails in case she is stressed and decides to remain at home chilling.

    Brian who came from Stanbic bank is strategic and knows the dangers of not being liked or favored by such a powerful caring boss. Mutungi also knows that the other managers he joined housing bank with like Victoria Mukasa and Jane Rukundo didn’t have many days at HFB because they failed to become sycophants to win favors of such a very powerful lady at the bank like Judith.

    This same Judith is too powerful even some board members fear her and this was seen recently. When they started restructuring requiring some workers to reapply for their jobs, the board members got reports that Judith was stressed and would become annoyed and take the case to court accusing them of mistreatment. The board members feared being sued by Judith and they stopped the restructuring process because it would invite bad stories to be written about housing finance bank once court begins hearing the case.

    THE OPERA NEWS STORY

    The restructuring of staff at housing finance bank was reported about on opera news on Monday with the following verbatim detailed opera news story which goes as follows; Sometime back, the governing board for Housing Finance Bank (Kololo-based and partly owned by government) resolved to implement job evaluation exercise leading to restructuring of staff many of whom would be affected in ways they didn’t like. The new structure would introduce chief positions (like CEO, CCO, CFO, Chief Risk Officer, Chief Legal Officer and others). Under the new arrangement, the Executive Director of the Bank would also serve as the Chief Commercial Officer. This new structure redefined the executive committee of the institution by making all chiefs members of the same.  Aware that they stand no chance to become chiefs, some senior and long serving members of staff, who had been part of the old executive committee, developed cold feet while having sleepless nights. Truth is they couldn’t be members of the ex-co anymore, a thing that naturally deprives them of influence, clout and significant financial and travel privileges.

     Besides creating new chief positions, the new structure also altered the composition of some departments. Some were abolished or even merged with others to achieve greater efficiency. For instance, what existed as distribution channels and customer experience was expanded to encompass mortgages and commercial banking to become one larger thing to be headed by a head of department. The marketing department would be severely affected too. In fact, this alteration and adjustment of departments would leave some managers jobless implying they would have to apply afresh if they desired to head any of the newly curved departments and stay on as HFB employees.

     At the end of the day, two previous heads of departments would find themselves jobless and having to compete or one position to head one of the merged departments if they were to remain in the service of the bank.

     In each department at the Bank are some powerful people to be negatively affected by this job evaluation and restructuring imposed by the Board. And its these that became disgruntled and coalesced themselves into a powerful cabal syndicating every effort to demonize the situation, scatter the board into disarray and prompt the Board into shelving its staff redeployment plans. Their agreed plan of action was to amplify imaginary sex scandals involving some of the people in top management.

     One story related to a female boss whose husband was supposed to have beaten her protesting her closeness to a board member. The other rumor targeted Ivan Kituuka who social media went as far as falsely claiming had been murdered after being accused of being close to somebody’s wife. We aren’t saying because the two individuals targeted are angels in anyway. We even have no capability to readily establish the extent of their infallibility. But the truth is the targeted female boss was a key beneficiary in the new chief structure and would have supervisory powers over one of the lucrative departments whose previous head naturally dislikes her yet she was now going to be under her supervision in the new structure. Similarly, the youthful Kituuka had to be targeted because it was apparent he was destined to head one of the newly created/expanded departments in case he applied for the role.

     But the broader picture is that such sex-oriented scandalization of HFB as an institution was aimed by syndicate members (most of them females) at creating a scandal that would frighten the Board into reconsidering its priority. With such a scandal playing out on social media, there is no way the Board would push on with restructuring because cleaning up the media mess becomes top priority and major preoccupation so that the brand is shielded as banking is one fragile sector or industry where markets severely respond and immediately. Such sex scandal, fabricated as it might be, can significantly affect the bank’s performance into non-profitability as depositors will reflect deeply before concluding such is the right place where to keep keeping their hard-earned money. The resultant reputational damage is equally a headache not just for management and other stakeholders but the Board, the government and other shareholders.    

     In fact, the conspirators plan is that should the Board use its upcoming quarterly meeting to push the restructuring agenda back on table, some of the disgruntled managers (most of them females) will escalate matters to court by suing for breach of employment contract and wrongful dismissal from their jobs which they are certain to lose should the Board insist on rolling out the new structure.  Yet the scandalization trick is one members of the powerful syndicate can’t abandon because it previously worked wonders for them. When Nicolas Okwir was HFB MD, he suffered a tabloid media storm characterized by sex scandals and this was after he attempted to assert himself as MD to reshuffle and redeploy some people from juicy dockets to what they perceive as dry ones. Mathias Katamba equally faced similar storm when he pondered staff redeployment and members of the powerful cabal branded him tribalist trying to favor his Bantu co-ethnics. He was thick-skinned and a seasoned PR Manager in his own right who knew how to deescalate such scandalous publicity and was as such determined to carry on whatever staffing reforms he planned but didn’t stay long enough as he was lured to leave to become DFCU MD after a much better remuneration offer came knocking.   

     

    By Grapevine Reporter

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    Where Did Our Data Go? – MTN, AIRTEL Dragged To Court Over Illegal Consumption Of Customer’s Data During Internet Shut Down…

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    Airtel Uganda Managing Director Manoj Murali (L) and MTN CEO Wim Vanhelleputte (R)

    Airtel and MTN, the top two Telecommunication giants in Uganda have been dragged to the High Court Civil Division over illegal consumption of customer’s data during the internet shutdown.

    Controversial city lawyer Hassan Male Male Mabirizi wants High Court Judge Boniface Wamala to declare that  the action of the respondents, to remove subscribers’ internet data bundles between 12th – 18th January 2021 yet social media platforms and the entire internet was shut down infringed on their rights.

    Mabirizi is also seeking for a permanent injunction restraining the respondents from any further or future consumption of his and other subscribers’ internet data bundles when social media platforms and the entire internet are shut down.

    He also wants the Court to issue an order compelling the Respondents to refund his and other subscribers’ internet data bundles chopped between 12th – 18th January 2021 when social media platforms and the entire internet were shut down.

    Mabirizi wants the Court to award general damages to him and other subscribers’ whose internet data bundles were consumed on the said days.

    Both telecommunication companies issued a statement noting that it was the government that issued a directive against them to shut down the internet over violence threats during the general elections. They however did not explain why most subscribers lost their data bundles during the days when the internet was totally off.

    Airtel and MTN have 14 days to file their defense.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    Judge Who Awarded Tycoon Ham Kiggundu Shs120bn In Battle With DTB Bank Transferred To Remote Soroti City…

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    Businessman Hamis Kiggundu with his lawyer Fred Muwema. Right is Justice Adonyo

    Speculations have already started among the legal fraternity and the general public questioning why the Principal Judge Flavian Zeija, who is also the head of High Court judges transferred the soft spoken senior commercial judge Henry Peter Adonyo to remote Soroti city as the Resident judge.

    Justice Adonyo’s name dominated the news when he dismissed Diamond Trust Bank’s (DTB)  Shs120bn case with 8 percent  interest against controversial city tycoon Hamis Kiggundu, the proprietor of Ham Enterprises Limited on technicality.

    In his ruling to stay of execution, Justice Nzeija cited corruption in Kiggundu’s case and revealed that a number of people approached him asking him to name his price before making his ruling even though he didn’t mention which party tried to bribe him.

    Ham protested Justice Nzeija’s action to stay of execution and dragged him to the Judiciary’s disciplinary body, the Judicial Service Commission.

    In his ruling, Justice Adonyo stated that Diamond Trust Bank (DTB) Kenya where Ham borrowed Shs120bn was not licensed to carry out any commercial transaction in Uganda because it contravened the Financial Institutions Acts of both Uganda and Kenya hence lacked locus to sue.

    Adonyo agreed with Kiggundu’s lawyers led by senior counsel Fred Muwema that it was illegally for the bank to withdraw money from Ham’s account without his consent.

    During the same transfer, over 28 Judges were transferred to different stations, seasoned electoral petitions legal giant turned High Court Judge Musa Sekaana was promoted to head the Civil Division Court of the High Court in Kampala.

    Many observers welcomed the move stating that Sekaana’s experience is going to help especially at this time when Courts are waiting for electoral petitions.

    Sekaana represented a number of politicians including the independent Electoral Commission in the previous elections petitions.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    How First Son Lt. Gen. Muhoozi Saved Kabushenga From Losing Juicy Job At Vision As CEO…

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    Vision Group CEO Robert Kabushenga

    It has been not an easy task for the first family to convince president Yoweri Museveni to renew the contract of Robert Kabushenga, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of vision group.

    Multiple credible sources have intimated to theGrapevine that for almost a year, Kabushenga has been running from one office to another pleading to those he thinks can convince President Museveni to renew his contract.

    “The man spent almost two days at Gen Salim Saleh’s home pleading to him to convince his brother to renew his contract until he told him that he had failed to persuade the old man,” one of Kabushenga’s best friends at vision group revealed.

    He added that Gen Saleh’s statements didn’t make the humble Kabushenga to give up.

    He decided to run to other first family members and the target was Lt. Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba, the first son, senior advisor to the president and also the commandant of the Special Forces Command (SFC).

    Sources revealed that several meetings were held between Kabushenga, Muhoozi and a one Alice Kaboyo, a close relative to Museveni on how they can convince the old man to renew Kabushenga’s contract.

    After several secret meeting, Kabs’ contract was renewed for two more years as the head of the vision group.

    Sources intimated to theGrapevine that even though Kabushenga’s contract was renewed, he was told that President Museveni is not happy with the way he has been running affairs at vision group.

    His peers advised him to make sure that by the end of the 2021 elections, the old man from Rwakitura is happy with his performance.

    Sources at vision group disclosed that for the last one year, since the expiry of his contract, Kabushenga has been a very frustrated boss, he has been spending much of the time out of office moving from one office to another in a bid to save his job.

    Recently, Kabushenga’s longtime enemy Joseph Tamale Mirundi who also doubles as the senior presidential advisor on media warned that Kabushenga should leave vision group.

    Mirundi has been moving from one radio station to another saying that Kabushenga refused to vacate office even though his contract expired and that President Museveni directed SFC commandos to go and evict him.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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