We never targeted NSSF – Umeme

Parliament- Umeme has denied accusation that it tapped National Social Security Fund as a source of cash back in 2004.

The power distributor also said NSSF was included in its Articles and Memorandum of Association by government officials.

Testifying under oath, the company secretary, Mr Noah Edwin Mwesigwa, said the insertion of NSSF in Umeme’s Articles and Memorandum of Association 10 years ago, originated from negotiations the power company had with the then Finance minister, Gerald Ssendawula and other officials at Privatisation Unit identified as [Emmanuel Nyirikindi, Michael Opagi and David Ssebabi].

“Government during negations and in signing the Support Agreement with Umeme, showed that they authorised NSSF to participate in the potential sell of Umeme shares and they [Mr Ssendawula] signed the agreement,” Mr Mwesigwa said.

He said the negotiated Support Agreement was signed between the government and Umeme on May 17, 2004 by Mr Ssendawula and the signing was witnessed by Prof Peter Kasesene, who was the minister for Privatisation at the time.

And on behalf of Umeme, he said, it was signed by Peter Grills, a director, Mr Czar Torbion and was witnessed by Mr L. Maleka.

Umeme officials led by Mr Henry Rugamba, the head of communications last Friday told the on-going parliamentary inquiry into irregularities at NSSF, that the talks were between the consortia (Umeme) and government represented by PU through Ministry of Finance.

Mr Mwesigwa said the Support Agreement that brought NSSF into Umeme’s Articles of Association and Memorandum of Association, was signed by Mr Ssendawula on May 17 2004. Mr Ssendawula is listed in the company’s annual report of 2013 as one of Umeme’s top directors.

Asked why they included NSSF without informing the Fund managers, Mr Mwesigwa said: “You can take it up with government if you wish, not me. We were negotiating with government and our understanding was that NSSF if any was being represented by government.”

KEY POINTS

Targeting NSSF: MPs, according to details, accuse Umeme of targeting NSSF as a “cash cow” to capitalise the company incorporated with only $50,000.
Not revealed: According to Umeme, even in meetings that it met with NSSF managers before the sale of shares, it never revealed that the Fund was obliged to buy Umeme share.
More inquiry: The probe continues today with officials from African Alliance, a brokerage firm selling Umeme shares to appear.

ymugerwa@ug.nationmedia.com

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

Releated