News and Views
Uganda: Finance minister Maria Kiwanuka’s Radio One Closed Over Shs 1.8bn Debt
Finance minister Maria Kiwanuka is restless after Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) management switched off her Radio One over a mind-boggling debt of Shs1.8bn.
We have learnt that in 1994, Maria under her company Uni-Uganda asked to erect a mast on UBC land which is on plot 35, Naguru.
Through the then information minister Basoga Nsadhu, Uni-Uganda which runs both Radio One and Two agreed to pay a monthly rent of Shs4.2m after marathon meeting.
In the minutes of the meetings held, it shows that management of the Radio One accepted to pay, although they hadn’t appended the signature to the tenancy agreement.
It is reported that despite the decision taken by the cordial meeting, Maria continued to lobby the then Vice President Dr. Specioza Kazibwe, and Investment Minister Sam Kutesa to have the rent fee reduced.
A source familiar with the wrangle says, although Maria kept on lobbying nothing substantive was arrived at.
“She used to come to Basoga to lobby but it was never ceiled and so the rate adopted by the meeting for which she was a party remained intact,” a source familiar with the wrangle informed us.
It is said, in 2004, Radio One management rushed to land commission and got lease of the land, a fact which is legally contested.
When contacted UBC’s managing director Paul Kihika confirmed the development and said Radio One would not be switched back on if the money isn’t paid.
“They should pay us arrears since 2004 which is around Shs1.8bn, Radio One makes around a Shs100m per month they should be able to settle the debt,” Kihika stated.
He added that if the management of Uni- Uganda didn’t respond, UBC management would move to take over and use the mask.
Kihika added that UBC management was going ahead to switch off Kabozi (radio Two) which was left on air.
We have independently confirmed that Radio One plans to transfer its Mast to the land they recently acquired on Plot 8 Waterlane.
However the transfer is likely to face resistance If the UBC debt isn’t settled.
We couldn’t get Minister Maria Kiwanuka for comment.
Reported By Dalton Kaweesa