The Uganda Wildlife Authority has defied President Museveni’s directive to give possession of the dilapidated Katurum Lodge in Kidepo to Mr Cornelius Kodet, a businessman.
In a letter written on May 14 to Maj. Gen. Kahinda Otafiire, the minister in charge, the then President’s principal private secretary, Ms Amelia Kyambadde, said Mr Kodet should renovate and take control of the lodge.
“During his Excellency the President’s meeting with Mzee Kodet Cornelius Lorika on April 18, 2010, at State House Entebbe, Mzee Kodet requested permission to renovate and take possession of Katurum Lodge, the letter said. “Accordingly, His Excellency accepted and directed that Mr Kodet be allowed to take possession and renovate the lodge.”
Mr Otafiire approved the deal but UWA wrote to Mr Kodet on October 26, 2010, saying they could not go into any concession agreement with Mr Kodet on grounds that the transaction did not follow public procurement regulations.
“Management has taken note of the various correspondences with the Office of the President and the Ministry of Trade and Tourism on this matter. We kindly request you to appreciate that at this stage we cannot enter into bidding concession agreement with you as we need more of your investment plan,” the letter said.
The Katurum Lodge, which was constructed in the 1970s, was vandalised when Amin’s government was overthrown and now has no roof. The UWA spokesperson, Ms Lilian Nsubuga, yesterday said she was aware of the issue but did not have an update on the matter.
“The person handling that issue is in a meeting and I don’t have any latest information,” she said.
The lodge is one of UWA properties which were recently advertised via International Tender of Joint Ventures.
‘Directive not binding’
Mr Kodet said he was told by the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Trade, Mr Julius Onen, that the presidential directive was not binding.
“When I met the PS, he said the presidential directive was not biding but I will start work on the site next week because I have submitted my investment plan,” he said.
Mr Kodet is the proprietor of Aero beach in Entebbe, Mount Moroto Hotel in Moroto and Apule Safari Lodge in Mbale.