Kampala- Finance Minister Matia Kasaija has fired the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) board.
In a February 6 letter, copied to State Minister Privatisation and Investment, Mr Kasaija said effective April 1 the entire board would be terminated following the presidential assent to the new Investment Act.
“The purpose of this letter is to request you to bring to the attention of members of the board that following the enactment of the new investment law, their membership has been terminated and a new board appointed,” the letter, which was also copied to the UIA chairman and the acting executive director, reads in part.
President Museveni on February 20 assented to the Investment Code Act 2019, which in essence put in place new measures leading to the dissolution of the UIA board.
The code in part seeks to reduce the number of UIA board members from the current 13 to seven.
Mr Kaisaija also noted that a new board had been appointed. However, details about its composition are still scanty.
Calls to known phone numbers for Mr Kasaija and State Minister for Investment and Privatisation Evelyne Anite went unanswered.
Mr Emely Kugonza, the current UIA chairman, yesterday confirmed the development but indicated he had been reappointed on a three-year contract.
“I have received a new appointment as board chairman for the next three years. I am happy about this, which clearly is a vote of confidence in my leadership,” he said.
However, Daily Monitor could not independently verify the claim.
Mr Kugonza was also yet to confirm who of the current board members had been returned.
He noted that the new Investment Code, among other things, will see a reduction in the composition of board numbers, five of which will be pooled from the private sector while two will be permanent secretaries or nominees from Finance and Trade ministries.
The termination comes at a time when UIA was seeking to recruit a substantive executive director following the early exit of acting executive director Basil Ajer.
Mr Ajer, quit the acting role four months after he had been appointment into the rather controversial position. In his resignation letter dated October 29, 2018, Mr Ajer indicated he would be leaving UIA on April 30, 2019.
“… time has come for me to explore new opportunities”. However, sources at UIA indicated that Mr Ajer had not returned to office after taking accumulated leave in January.
Mr Ajer had been appointed in acting capacity to replace Ms Jolly Kamugira Kaguhangire, who was sacked last year for abuse of office, insubordination, lying to the board, non-compliance to set guidelines and closing a public office.
June 20: IGG petitioned to probe Jolly Kaguhangire
June 26: Kaguhangire interdicted, UIA starts own probe, Mr Ajer appointed acting ED
June27: Kaguhangire refuses to leave office
June 29: Kaguhangire forced out of office
July 5: Kaguhangire, UIA meet President Museveni. Asks her to hand over
July 11: Hand over goes on without Kaguhangire September: Kaguhangire sues UIA
September 11 She declines to appear before UIA probe
September: She drops case against UIA
October 26: Kaguhangire is fired
October 29: Acting Ed Mr Ajer resigns
December 20: Recruitment process for new ED starts
February 2019: Mr Ajer leaves UIA. Mr Lawrence Byensi appointed acting Ed
February 6: UIA board terminated