Sidney Asubo is the Financial Intelligence Authority ED


Uganda’s Financial Intelligence Authority has formally begun preliminary investigations that will dig up details of the 57 people linked to Uganda, with secret accounts in HSBC, a Swiss bank.

Speaking to The Observer yesterday, Sydney Asubo, the FIA executive director, said the investigations will look into who these people are, how they are linked to Uganda, and if they are hiding illicit money.

Asubo added that while it is not illegal to have foreign bank accounts, the money laundering law empowers FIA to investigate any suspicious money. Early this month, HSBC’s secret files of over 100,000 clients were leaked to French authorities who also distributed them to different media outlets.

The leaked files reveal that 57 out of the 100, 000 clients have links to Uganda, and they hold a stash of $89.3 million (about  Shs 255.6bn) in the bank. One of the clients, whose association with Uganda is closer, has about $8.8m (about Shs 25.1bn).

Details from the leaked files show that 212 bank accounts were opened by people with links to Uganda, of which 83 accounts were opened between 1972 and 2006, and 50 of those accounts were active in 2006, which was an election year.

“We have to find all the illicit money wherever it is, whether within Uganda or out of Uganda,” he said, adding that in case it is discovered that the money is illicit, any individual or institution responsible will face the law.

Asked about the status of the inquiry, Asubo said they were in the preliminary stages of the investigations.

“We have written to Swiss authorities and we hope to update you if any substantial details are found,” he said. FIA will be assisted by other state organs such as the external security organisation and police.

In 2012, Parliament established an inquiry into allegations that senior government officials had received bribes from oil companies to swing oil contracts in the bribers’ favour. In its report to Parliament, the probe team said it could not pin the government officials because the countries, Switzerland inclusive, where the accounts of the said transactions took place, refused to cooperate with the team.


skakaire@

observer.ug


Commissioner for Land Registration department Sarah Kulata

The commissioner for Land Registration department, Sarah Kulata has denied responsibility in the Shs 26bn loss made by government in the fraudulent compensation of more than 180 people alleged to own land in wetlands and forest reserves.


In 2013, people were issued with land tittles and later compensated by the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA). Evidence before the commission of inquiry into mismanagement, abuse of office and corrupt practices in UNRA; indicates that the land registration department went ahead to issue land tittles in wetland and forest reserves without consultation with environmental body, NEEMA or the National Forest Authority (NFA) who are legally the custodians of wetlands and forest reserves respectively.


Kulata however told the commission on Friday while being interrogated by the lead counsel Andrew Kasirye that the role of her office was recording land titles as issued by the district Land boards and thus the blame should be put on the district land officials at Wakiso.


"The people who collected the money should pay it back. My lord, commissioners I earlier stated that the controlling authority is the owner of the land. [in] land registration, the registrar is at the tail end of the process of titling. Squarely put the blame on the district land board, the controlling authority", she said.

Kasirye interjected asking: "What is the purpose of having a registrar? A registrar is skilled in matters of land law. Are you suggesting to this commission that being at the tail end, your officers are mere rubber-stamps. Should we recommend that we remove them?".

The 1995 constitution puts all wetlands and forest reserves in custody of government for the people of Uganda. A gazette notice was issued in February 2013 and most of the controversial land tittles were issued between March 2013 and December 2014.


The Legal Affairs director Christopher Gashirabaki had earlier informed the commission that following a gazette of land to be covered by roads, UNRA takes charge and no land tittles can be issued to the alleged owners. However, the Land Registration department went ahead to issue land tittles and leases in the said areas.


Among those given the leases and claimed compensation is Minister of Land, Housing Development Daudi Migereko for his land in Munyonyo. The Minister had in February written to all stakeholders halting further activities on the land. He is set to appear and give details to claims of influence peddling, ownership of illegal land tittles in the Express Highway land etc.


When asked if her department took dual diligence to verify the titles, Kaluta said "My lord, commissioners, land registration is a process where the department of land registration is at the tail end. There is another department of administration which does supervising, monitoring and guiding controlling authorities. I believe the department of land administration must have informed the controlling authority audibly."


Kulata is to appear again on Monday to answer on fraudulent compensation in the Hoima-Kaiso-Tonya road project as well as avail more details in relation to the Kampala Entebbe Express Highway compensation.

Sidney Asubo is the Financial Intelligence Authority ED


Uganda’s Financial Intelligence Authority has formally begun preliminary investigations that will dig up details of the 57 people linked to Uganda, with secret accounts in HSBC, a Swiss bank.

Speaking to The Observer yesterday, Sydney Asubo, the FIA executive director, said the investigations will look into who these people are, how they are linked to Uganda, and if they are hiding illicit money.

Asubo added that while it is not illegal to have foreign bank accounts, the money laundering law empowers FIA to investigate any suspicious money. Early this month, HSBC’s secret files of over 100,000 clients were leaked to French authorities who also distributed them to different media outlets.

The leaked files reveal that 57 out of the 100, 000 clients have links to Uganda, and they hold a stash of $89.3 million (about  Shs 255.6bn) in the bank. One of the clients, whose association with Uganda is closer, has about $8.8m (about Shs 25.1bn).

Details from the leaked files show that 212 bank accounts were opened by people with links to Uganda, of which 83 accounts were opened between 1972 and 2006, and 50 of those accounts were active in 2006, which was an election year.

“We have to find all the illicit money wherever it is, whether within Uganda or out of Uganda,” he said, adding that in case it is discovered that the money is illicit, any individual or institution responsible will face the law.

Asked about the status of the inquiry, Asubo said they were in the preliminary stages of the investigations.

“We have written to Swiss authorities and we hope to update you if any substantial details are found,” he said. FIA will be assisted by other state organs such as the external security organisation and police.

In 2012, Parliament established an inquiry into allegations that senior government officials had received bribes from oil companies to swing oil contracts in the bribers’ favour. In its report to Parliament, the probe team said it could not pin the government officials because the countries, Switzerland inclusive, where the accounts of the said transactions took place, refused to cooperate with the team.


skakaire@

observer.ug


Commissioner for Land Registration department Sarah Kulata

The commissioner for Land Registration department, Sarah Kulata has denied responsibility in the Shs 26bn loss made by government in the fraudulent compensation of more than 180 people alleged to own land in wetlands and forest reserves.


In 2013, people were issued with land tittles and later compensated by the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA). Evidence before the commission of inquiry into mismanagement, abuse of office and corrupt practices in UNRA; indicates that the land registration department went ahead to issue land tittles in wetland and forest reserves without consultation with environmental body, NEEMA or the National Forest Authority (NFA) who are legally the custodians of wetlands and forest reserves respectively.


Kulata however told the commission on Friday while being interrogated by the lead counsel Andrew Kasirye that the role of her office was recording land titles as issued by the district Land boards and thus the blame should be put on the district land officials at Wakiso.


"The people who collected the money should pay it back. My lord, commissioners I earlier stated that the controlling authority is the owner of the land. [in] land registration, the registrar is at the tail end of the process of titling. Squarely put the blame on the district land board, the controlling authority", she said.

Kasirye interjected asking: "What is the purpose of having a registrar? A registrar is skilled in matters of land law. Are you suggesting to this commission that being at the tail end, your officers are mere rubber-stamps. Should we recommend that we remove them?".

The 1995 constitution puts all wetlands and forest reserves in custody of government for the people of Uganda. A gazette notice was issued in February 2013 and most of the controversial land tittles were issued between March 2013 and December 2014.


The Legal Affairs director Christopher Gashirabaki had earlier informed the commission that following a gazette of land to be covered by roads, UNRA takes charge and no land tittles can be issued to the alleged owners. However, the Land Registration department went ahead to issue land tittles and leases in the said areas.


Among those given the leases and claimed compensation is Minister of Land, Housing Development Daudi Migereko for his land in Munyonyo. The Minister had in February written to all stakeholders halting further activities on the land. He is set to appear and give details to claims of influence peddling, ownership of illegal land tittles in the Express Highway land etc.


When asked if her department took dual diligence to verify the titles, Kaluta said "My lord, commissioners, land registration is a process where the department of land registration is at the tail end. There is another department of administration which does supervising, monitoring and guiding controlling authorities. I believe the department of land administration must have informed the controlling authority audibly."


Kulata is to appear again on Monday to answer on fraudulent compensation in the Hoima-Kaiso-Tonya road project as well as avail more details in relation to the Kampala Entebbe Express Highway compensation.

In memory of Teddy Ssezi Cheeye

7 March, 2018

Written by Dimas Nkunda

Mr Dimas Nkunda

 

Fresh from Makerere University, I was approached to work with the newly-founded The Monitor newspaper in 1992.   

Among the seven founding directors was a man no one needed to be introduced to. He was Teddy Ssezi Cheeye, more known for Uganda Confidential, the paper that split the atom. Cheeye was feared for the manner in which he sourced and delivered his news, by championing the fight against corruption and excesses of those in power.

Such was the manner in which he was revered that just mentioning his name would elicit fear and awe at the same time. So, there we were in The Monitor newsroom and he would saunter in with all the bravado about him.

 

As a director who was not that closely operational on a daily basis, Cheeye would sometimes ask why a certain story was not followed or suggest the more sanguine stories that only Uganda Confidential could publish.

His fights with the then Finance minister Dr Crispus Kiyonga and the World Bank scandals are legendary and opened the door for more investigative stories and journalism in Uganda. The irony of all things came when the crusader against corruption and its attendant evils was caught in the same melee he vehemently fought.

I remember meeting him while he still worked as Director of Economic Monitoring in the Internal Security Organization (ISO). I asked why he had gone into bed with the very people that he for long persecuted for the wrongs they had exacted on the country.

He laughed it off, saying he was in a better position to end what he termed then as chronic corruption. I remember warning him that if he was not careful, the very people he wrote about in Uganda Confidential would get to him.

It was not long before he was caught up in the infamous Global Fund scam with Shs 120 million that he did not properly account for.

Poor Cheeye, unlike the bigger fish who should have been held politically liable for the loss of millions of Global Fund money, was sentenced and jailed for 10 years.  Till his release from Luzira last year, he had come full circle to believe that “there were people behind” his incarceration.

At the height of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, Cheeye and I took off to cover the genocide. Because Cheeye had close links with the Rwanda Patriotic Front and had personal rapport with the then Maj Paul Kagame, access to stories was made easy.

I remember one day as we were driving towards Kigali, we suddenly met a heavy convoy of military vehicles heading in the opposite direction. All of a sudden, the military convoy came to an abrupt halt and we were quickly surrounded.

A Range Rover that had its headlights on reversed. There were soldiers everywhere. This was just next to Lake Muhazi, found about 20 kilometres east of Kigali.

Then we heard the name of Cheeye called out. The lone occupant of the Range Rover opened the driver’s door. A tall and slender man in military fatigue stepped out. It was Maj Paul Kagame. He shouted: “Cheeye, amakuru?” (How are you Cheeye?) He then proceeded to greet us all, including a CNN crew. 

Two guards who had been assigned to escort us to Kigali were quickly arrested. Their guns were taken away and told to sit down. Cheeye, meanwhile, was in conversation with Kagame in Kinyarwanda. I could pick the things he was asking him.

How far is the war? When are you taking over Kigali? What are the exact numbers of the dead so far?  Kagame was about to begin speaking to Cheeye in Kinyarwanda but quickly realized that there were other foreign journalists.

We set up and quickly interviewed him. He asked his personal assistant to avail him a map and he proceeded to show us where his forces had advanced. For about thirty minutes, this spot on the shores of Lake Muhazi was probably the safest place to be in Rwanda.

As we parted, he told Cheeye to meet him later for a chat. Our guards were given back their guns and we proceeded to Kanombe barracks where we spent the night.  That evening, Cheeye was taken by some people to meet Maj Kagame.

We waited for his return but we were later told he had left us behind and headed back to Uganda. Upon my return from Rwanda a few weeks later, I asked him why he had abandoned us.

His answer was that of a typical journalist of those days. After the interview with Kagame, he wanted to publish and beat us to it.

Cheeye, whose real name was Sezikyeye but changed it, like the many NRA rebels of the time, was a very knowledgeable journalist particularly on economic journalism, which had not been a common field those days.

A man who weathered the storms of life in prison to get killed by a boda boda a year after he regained his freedom is sad, indeed! 

Rest in peace, Teddy Ssezi Cheeye!

The author is a human rights expert.

 

 

 

 

 

The death of Cheeye and untold meaning of Uganda Confidential

 

 

Last week, a boda boda cyclist ran over and killed journalist and publisher Teddy Ssezi Cheeye. In a more extended article in this paper (‘Cheeye was a son of a gun…our son of a gun’, page 28-29), I look at some of the intricacies behind the founding of Uganda Confidential in 1990, its controversial path, and conflicted life of Cheeye. However, Cheeye apart, the birth of Uganda Confidential in 1990 was not accidental. It happened as a result of a series of events in Uganda and the world.

Over the weekend, with the country, especially Kampala, seemingly besieged by criminals, President Yoweri Museveni, who has based a large part of his legitimacy on ending this type of insecurity, took to Twitter to reassure a nervous nation. He said this spate of crime will be solved, like many others many in the past thought wouldn’t be overcome. “Many people did not believe that we would end shortages of sugar, soap, paraffin, beer, etc. - the so-called “essential commodities,” he tweeted. “All these, however, have been achieved”.

He does not say how the shortages ended. It was through privatisation and liberalisation of the economy. In the first two years of the NRM, it tried to solve shortages through improving production by State-owned companies and barter trade. It was a colossal failure, with shortages of milk, salt, sugar, beer, and soft drinks persisting until into late 1987.

Why did it fail? First, the Soviet Union and eastern bloc were teetering, so the market for barter, rather than for good old dollars, Pounds and yens was not there. Secondly, HIV/Aids began to take its toll, and it began to dawn that new sources of social energy and enterprise needed to enable Uganda cope with the economic burden. Thirdly, rebellion in the north and northeast were intensifying, and the economy couldn’t support both the wars and reconstruction.

So, in 1988, sound economic sense prevailed. Soon State companies were sold off, and the economy thrown open for businessmen and women to take over and provide the services and goods consumers needed, for a profit. The rest, as they say, is history.
Two things happened. At that point, continuing a practice from the past, some NRM big wigs had taken advantage of the shortages to make a fortune getting commodities at government-controlled rates and selling them on the open market.

In the country and within the NRM, there was discontent about the people who were “betraying” the revolution and using the State to enrich themselves. This was the line pushed by the ideological purists in the NRM, several of them in the Movement Secretariat, but they were at their sharpest in the Political Commissariat of the National Resistance Army (NRA), the precursor to UPDF.

Their ideas vehicle was the journal Tarehe Sita (February 6), marking “NRM Day”). Cheeye was working with Tarehe Sita when I first met him through Wafula Oguttu, who was then editor of the NRM-leaning Weekly Topic. I was Waf’s deputy.
Cheeye, like Waf - and progressives in NRM – were troubled by what they saw as the “hegemony of the right wing”, epitomised by the influence of politicians like Balaki Kirya, businessmen such as First Lady Janet Museveni’s uncle John Kazoora, and prime minister, then vice president Samson Kisekka.

Privatisation and liberalisation unleashed a lot of creative economic energy, but also a new round of corruption, and the inequality gap became glaring rather quickly.
He was a regular at Weekly Topic, and his sense of humour and political gossip about goings on inside NRM were always worthwhile. He was disillusioned with the losses the progressives were suffering. When he came up with his plan for Uganda Confidential, it was exciting.

Wafula and I agreed to find some time in our schedule to help Cheeye with Uganda Confidential at the start.
This background is important, because those looking at Uganda Confidential’s burn trail later, wouldn’t imagine that Cheeye was ever motivated by a noble purpose.
There was always a part of him that believed that the political and economic system had to be fairer. He was controversial, but what made him good, his fearlessness and passion, were also what made him disagreeable and led him to errors.

Cheeye didn’t have much formal education. He was mostly self taught. 
He overcame odds that would have broken most people in similar situation. 
The power that media success grants some journalists, can sometimes be much a politician like President Museveni has. Its temptations are enormous.

Cheeye at one point had the power to make or break. It got the better of him.
The tragedy of his death, then, is that his contribution to journalism might be difficult to tell above the noise of how he lived his life. But we shall try.

Mr Onyango-Obbo is the publisher of Africa data visualiser Africapedia.com and explainer site Roguechiefs.com. Twitter@cobbo3

 

 

 

 

In Uganda, there is a dark side of Ssezi Cheeye’s journalism:

 

Nicholas Sengoba

Nicholas Sengoba 

7 March, 2018
By Nicholas Sengoba

So said Marc Antony in William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar… “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones; so let it be with Caesar.” 
So let it be with the late Teddy Ssezi Cheeye, killed by a runaway mysterious motorcycle. 
Years ago, it was quite an experience reading Uganda Confidential, a newspaper that prodded almost everyone; bluntly exposing corruption in the NRM government and many of its officials plus their dealings. Cheeye tested the boundaries and pushed the envelope almost single handedly.

Cheeye became a big hit so much so that many attribute whatever freedoms Ugandan journalism enjoys to date to him personally because his paper was basically a one man’s show. 
Confidential overshadowed the contribution of crusading publications that came before like the Weekly Topic and The Shariat. Then there was Weekly Digest and Financial Times of Francis Odida, which were closed by the NRM government shortly after it took power. They all pushed but died in the struggle.

Confidential came on the scene in 1990 at a time when the spots of the NRM government were becoming visible. The 1986 promise of handing over power after four years was already broken. Old habits like nepotism and corruption were rearing their ugly heads. Privatisation and structural adjustment policies were shaking the social economic status quo. People were losing jobs and government houses. Free health care and university education was coming to an end.

Ugandans were now looking at every move by government with keen interest. Cheeye’s exposes were helpful in this endeavour for they focused mainly on corruption and governance issues in the NRM government. Confidential was a consistent publication unlike others which were short-lived. It was also edited by an authentic ‘westerner;’ a kinsman of the ruling class, who could not be dismissed as a ‘jealous outsider.’ On his passing, this side of his journalism was highlighted and correctly so as Cheeye liked to say. But for the sake of history, it is important to put in context Cheeye’s contribution and what followed thereafter.

Cheeye was no ordinary Ugandan who folded his sleeves and decided to take on the government. He was for all intents and purposes part of the NRM set up and it was right in their stable that he met his waterloo.
His rise re-enforced a treacherous type of journalism. You could call it ‘state inspired journalism,’ where an individual or a group of individuals is quietly ensconced and safeguarded by the powers that be and embedded within the media. 
They are a quasi part of the subterfuge of government, which fortification makes many think they are dare devils.
Their ‘protection’ grants them licence to publish often without the burden of validation, about anyone or anything without fear of repercussions. Their main purpose in the long-run is to ensure the perpetuation of their godfather, the government in power, which is never blamed directly for all the woes that may be happening in the country.

Their publications dangle red herrings to create media agendas that deflect public attention and criticism from the government. Many times, this power gets to their heads and they go overboard fighting on many fronts, especially those they deem enemies of the government. They become hired guns, blackmailing and taking money to kill stories. Once in a while, they wander into a sacred realm, biting the very hand that fed them to this position, ending up in trouble. 
Ugandan journalism today has so many of these types called ‘investigative journalists’ with personalised ‘impeccable sources’, who position themselves as mouth pieces of people in government, politics and business; giving them good coverage and staining their enemies or those who they fail to blackmail – for a fee.

Cheeye was one of this kind. In the 2001 election when it became clear that Dr Kizza Besigye was a contender and not a joke, he wrote that his son Anslem had died, but was being kept in a refrigerator to be buried after the election. This he intended to ‘prove’ that Dr Besigye had a terminal illness, which had killed his son and would also kill him in case people voted him. Anselm is at Harvard University as I write.

His koranic 40 days ran out when it was revealed by a former Cabinet minister that he took money to kill a story about a sexual scandal involving a former World Bank official. Cheeye defended self claiming that he did it to ‘save’ Uganda which was a recipient of aid from the bank. So he was recovering the costs incurred in printing the publication, which he withdrew. By this time it was increasingly becoming difficult to defend the NRM without appearing to be in bed with them. 
Cheeye was increasingly looking like a counterfeit with a misguided sense of entitlement because of the hitherto unquestionable power he wielded and misused as a media personality. He came out of the closet, turned yellow and went on to serve in the government spying agency, ISO. The rest is history. The claim that he was the modern father of media freedom was tested at his requiem mass in Mbuya church.

Not so big in terms of sitting capacity, Mbuya had many empty pews. With the exception of Wafula Oguttu, Joachim Buwembo, Edmund Kizito and Charles Mwanguhya Mpagi, the absence of journalists for whom he supposedly extended the boundaries of freedom was very telling.

Mr Sengoba is a commentator on political and social issues. nicholassengoba@yahoo.com
Twitter:@nsengoba

 

 

 

 

 

Teddy Seezi Cheeye's requiem mass at Mbuya Catholic Church, at Kampala, Uganda: 

 

By Umaru Kashaka

 

Added 3rd March 2018

 

The 60-year-old, who is survived by a widow and three children, will be laid to rest at his ancestral home in Luwero at 2:00pm on Sunday.

 

Cheeye 703x422
 

PIC: Cheeye's daughter laying a wreath on the casket containing the remains of his father during the requiem mass. (Credit: All photos by Juliet Kasirye)

REQUIEM MASS FOR CHEEYE

KAMPALA - Relatives and friends of legendary investigative journalist Teddy Sseezi Cheeye have gathered at Our Lady of Africa Mbuya Catholic Church for his requiem mass.

The mass kicked off at 11:00am.

Cheeye was knocked dead by a bodaboda cyclist on Thursday in Nakawa, Kampala. 

The 60-year-old, who is survived by a widow and three children, will be laid to rest at his ancestral home in Luwero at 2:00pm on Sunday.

 

Mourners at Cheeye's requiem mass

Before becoming economic director in the External Security Organisation, Cheeye was publisher and editor of Uganda Confidential, a news magazine.

With the tagline ‘The paper that splits the Atom’, observers said he significantly changed Uganda’s journalism in the early 90s by ruthlessly exposing corruption in government. With time, he had accumulated a battalion of enemies.

 

 
 

Media personality Charles Mwangusya and FDC's Wafula Ogutu at Cheeye's requiem mass

 


Cheeye was released from Luzira on March 3, 2017 after serving a 10-year jail sentence over embezzlement of funds (sh200m) meant for global fund activities.

He became a Born-Again Christian and said his publication would be based on deep spirituality and would provoke debate on the way forward for Uganda.

 

Relatives of Cheeye at the requiem mass

His contemporaries say he was preparing to publish the third edition of his revamped Uganda Confidential today (Saturday).



 
RIP Teddy Seezi Cheeye
 

Julius Mwesigye


Teddy Sseezi Cheeye had a column in his Newspaper Uganda Confidential. Feet of Clay, it was called, was a fiction column through which he spoke frank to those in power on issues of public policy.
In the August 30- September 6 1993 issue, he described, as hump to hump and annoying, the traffic situation along Jinja-Kampala highway—the road where he lost his life to a speeding Boda Boda on Thursday 1 February 2018.
He was a rather feisty man in his writing. Just like most Uganda journalists who have scaled the heights, Cheeye showed up from a poverty stricken and obscure background with his only trait being that he was enduring.
Though I never interacted with him in close quarters, I ‘knew’ Cheeye in a number of ways, having worked with him in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, where he was deployed as the first ‘Cadre’ in the National Resistance Movement (NRM) regime after the January 1986 overthrow of the short-lived Tito Okello regime—when the current government came to power, it deployed cadres in most government offices to ‘check’ on the excesses of public servants.
Despite his ‘high-profile job’ as a Cadre, when the plump Cheeye joined the ‘Ministry’, he was allocated a small bedsitter on Block 1 in the staff quarters, a block he shared with four other families: that of Henry Mugisha, John Ekodai (Film Department), Peter Sebatta (Copy Typist) and Eddy Ndyanabo, a very light-skinned and comic Accounts Assistant seconded to the ministry from finance—Cheeye was the last surviving of them all.
He rarely interacted with neighbors. He kept most of his talking to his wife, Anne Kayiranga and baby (I don’t remember the sex) and younger brother.
This, probably, had to do with politics of the time; the North-South divide (tribal or otherwise), the poster boy of post-Independence Uganda, which gave rise a suspicious society that created the ‘we’ against ‘them’ scenario.
When Cheeye joined the Ministry and given the politics of the time, he was regarded as one of the topmost four people after the Ministry, at the time Al Haji Abubaker Kakyama Mayanja (RIP), Deputy Minister Jack Maumbe Mukhwana (RIP) and Permanent Secretary, either Wilson Wanyama or Ben Otto. That was how ‘powerful’ the Cheeye of 1986 was.
It is this ‘power’ that made to allocate to himself a car, a Subaru Reg. No. UI 0095, at the time driven by one Mzee Kiggundu, a former driver to the Obote II Minister of Information Dr. David Obiara Anyoti, to the inconvenience of the majority of the ministry staff.
The car, allocated to transport night shift staff staying in the Ministry quarters in Ntinda and Naguru, was one of the few in the fleet and it being taken by Cheeye meant that staff had no means of heading home after work. But who would dare Cheeye? He was an NRM Cadre, considered a ‘spy’ by workmates and therefore, a approach-him-at-your-peril kind of guy.
Few fraternized with him except when in line of official duties, most of which he, as Cadre in charge of the Ministry, supervised.
It was while in line of his supervisory role that staff knew about how Cheeye had actually spent some time in the NRA bush war but magically disappeared when the gun fire intensified.
“You, weren’t you with us and you abandoned us,” the four star General, Elly Tumwine, at the time the Army Commander who had come for an interview told him on the sidelines.
Just like that, the story about how the man had spent some time in the bushes of Luweero spread like a bush fire and by evening had people’s tongues wagging! Many thought he was going to be arrested-for desertion- but that never happened. He remained boss, feared by many!
We somehow both left the ministry. He had fallen in love with the art of journalism and I kept following him through his works in the Uganda Confidential, the cyclostyle printed newspaper which was loathed and celebrated by those in power and the random street reader respectively because of its boldness and deep throat exposes.
One such expose was splash he published in the August 30- September 6 1993 issue with a carefully crafted headlined’ State House: implicated in the murder of Kagondoki?
He basically accused the first lady, Janet Museveni of having a hand in the then third year Makerere student’s life over a land dispute.

 

The old confidential magazine this Gentleman used to print out.


The story prompted President Museveni to issue a stern warning against journalists with the now famous phrase, “you can write and say anything you want about me but leave my wife and family out.”
That is how Cheeye’s journalism was: Bold. Indeed, he together with people like Major Kakooza Mutale (as Editor of Economist and Mulengera newspapers) and the late James Namakajjo, changed the perception of the media industry in Uganda by reporting about the miscreant activities of government and its officials. Previously, this was unheard of because almost all journalists were employees of the few existing State-owned media outlets then.
Cheeye did not only raffle feathers in Uganda; he ventured into post-Genocide Rwanda, starting a publication that did not live beyond its first issue! The name of the publication was as fast forgotten. Very few people know about this exploit, and even fewer know why the publication was stopped!
But never unwavering, Cheeye ‘returned’ to Uganda and continued with his journalistic work through the Uganda Confidential.
On his return, theories were abound among journalists over rounds of frothy drinks at the at the Press Club, a journalists watering hole opposite YMCA Bombo road, about the extent of Cheeye’s support to the RPA cause.
It was at the Press Club, then owned by Irene Kwera, and her husband Herbert Muntuyera, an elder brother to then Army Commander Major General John Mugisha Muntu, that most journalists working with the Ministry of Information hang out at the time and engaged in whiskey spiced discussions.
Some of the patrons included Alfred Wasike, formerly of New Vision, Charles Ochola and James Opoka.
Kwera, the joint proprietor, was sister to two, now deceased, senior NRA officers, Major General James Bunanukye Kazini and Lieutenant Colonel Jet Mwebaze.
Therefore, the place was the natural hangout joint for several senior NRA officers including Lt. Col. Julius Aine and presidential Aide-de-Camp (ADC) Maj. Robert (Bob) Kabura, among many others and journalists love information, they had to keep in ears distance from the new guys in town.
Indeed, before the RPA attacked Rwanda, some of its ‘planning meetings’ were held at Press Club, at times chaired by Major General Fred Gisa Rwigyema.
Cheeye never came to the Press Club albeit being a renowned tough scribe. This prompted many a patrons to conclude believe that his ‘non-participation’ in planning for the RPA war was responsible for his subsequent ‘rejection’ in Rwanda. Needless to say, his ancestral place was in Rwanda.
The Pioneer of modern media
To the many who knew or heard about Cheeye, he was a man of ‘nine lives’ like the proverbial cat, and his transmutation and survival instincts seemed almost natural. He would later in life, just last year, confess that prison life humbled him. That was after serving ten years for graft.
He was one of the pioneers of the modern media industry in Uganda, alongside the founders of the Monitor newspaper like Wafula Oguttu and Charles Onyango-Obbo, and Wiliam Pike at the State-owned New Vision.
And, through his ‘Clay of Feet’ editorial, Cheeye exposed the ‘mighty’ that were linked to corruption. It was thus not surprising that many, including one time Vice President Dr. Samson Babi Mulul Kisekka and several ministers, some of who are still serving in Cabinet, sought for his blood and downfall.
The sword was drawn and the Uganda Confidential wound up unceremoniously. Cheeye went into oblivion but not before courts had slapped him with heavy fines arising out of the many court cases involving big shots, many of who sought to have him declared bankrupt!
His life took a temporary beating, coming amid allegations of some miscreant acts including allegations that he had an insatiable appetite for members of the opposite sex who already belonged to other people. He was jailed, but somehow survived the onslaught against him that, needless to say, seemed fictitious, fabricated by his many ‘enemies’.
It is not that everybody hated Cheeye, and true to that in 2002 President Yoweri Museveni came seeking his ‘James Bond’ expertise in exposing the rot the public domain. Mr. Museveni appointed Cheeye the Director of Economic Monitoring in the President’s Office, attached to the Internal Security Organization (ISO), and his life changed in an overnight as the job with the perks, including armed guards.
Now, Cheeye the journalist-turned-spy went to work, and in process once again, stepped on many toes, unfortunately what to him tasted like Kool-Aid was actually coming from a poisoned chalice.
He was to be accused of the same crime he had spent years condemning in his black and white newspaper—corruption.
The theatre piece that brought him down was linked to the Global Fund, where he—court found—fingered a public kitty with him over Shs100 million that was supposed to treat HIV/Aids and Tuberculosis, patients.
Cheeye was sentenced to 10 years in prison, and ordered to refund the money.
He returned just year and declared that prison life had humbled him and likened his jail sentence to funeral.
Out, he went straight to his known craft, journalism. The new Uganda Confidential was less stinging. Pessimists claimed he had been bought. This was not he wrote an open letter to General Caleb Akandwanaho aka Salim Saleh, dubbed ‘High Table of Poverty grows Operation Wealth Creation can never create wealth’, and an earlier article dubbed ‘President Museveni should take General Saleh and ISO report with a pinch of salt’.
It was to be his last hit. Last month’s issues was headlined, “Why Muhoozi Project has always been a hoax.”
Survived by a wife, Anne and children, the Feet of Clay was a colossus in journalism. Unlike in Shakespeare’s world where the evil that men do lives after them and the good is oft interred with their bones, Teddy SseeziCheeye will be long be remembered for his boldness and exposing the shenanigans of the regime; his arguments against governments affront on media freedom by banning advertising with media freedom will forever live through “the Political Economy of Instability” an article he published in the August 30- September 6 1993 issue in his column the Feet of Clay”
RIP Teddy SseeziCheeye.
Julius Mwesigye is the News Editor, Eagle Online



THE RISE AND FALL OF CHEEYE THE GREAT:

Teddy Seezi Cheeye has left a mark. Founding Editor of Tarehe Sita in
January 1987, then Founding Editor of Uganda Confidential in 1990,
Director of Economic Monitoring ISO, etc....
Cheeye had sharping questions in the early years of President
Museveni's press conferences.
In his paper that used to split the atom, to use its own slogan,
Cheeye wrote many controversial stories  including how Dr. Besigye
"defiled" a house maid Kyakuwa and Byanyima reported the matter to
police. In 2005, it became political as the case was heard in court
when he was a presidential candidate, and was later acquitted.
He also wrote the same on Brewer Matembe and recently almost fought
with Matembe when he revived the same on NBS's Front line talk show.
At the peak of Kisangani clashes between UPDF and RPA inside DR Congo,
Cheeye was so much anti the late Maj.Gen.James Kaziini who was Chief
of Staff and Overall Commander of UPDF operations in the Congo.
When oil was discovered in Bunyoro sub region, and some Banyarwanda
pastoralists including Cheeye's relatives, who were with his cattle,
relocated to Buliisa from Masindi, and were chased out by the then
Coordinator of security services Gen.David Sejusa in collaboration
with Buliisa MP Mukitare Birahwa, Cheeye was their chief patron and to
an extent President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, who had an interview with
the media and called upon President Museveni not to chase the
Banyarwanda from Buliisa. Later a section of them including their
leader, a lady Babarosa supported by the then Deputy Speaker of
Buganda Lukiiko Dr. Higiro Semajege, distanced themselves from
President Kagame and said that they were Ugandan Banyarwanda but not
Rwandan citizens.
Cheeye, the media general, who survived bullets during RPF liberation
war (1990-1994) where he was a almost a war correspondent, court cases
including that famous one of 'chapati" lady at Black lines, and jail,
died as a no body after being hit by a bodaboda at Nakawa.
KCCA Executive Direcotr Jennifer Mususu Ssemakula, had come out with a
noble program of regulating bodaboda in and around Kampala but was
frustrated by the likes of Gen. Kale Kayihura, the former Kampala
Metropolitan Police Director late Andrew Felix Kaweesi and Boda Boda
2010 Patron, Haji Kitatta, it is high time the programme was
revisited.
Cheeye, with his Uganda Confidential, following Weekly Topic owned by
SAPOBA trio; Bidandi Ssali Kintu Musoke and Kirunda Kivejinja,
developed investigative journalism in Uganda, and will be remembered
for that.
In 1995, however, at an investigative journalism workshop at Lake
Victoria Hotel Entebbe, the former Minister for Finance Dr. Cryspus
Kiyonga challenged Cheeye whether he did not pull out a story after
getting 5,000 US Dollars. Cheeye admitted so saying that by the time
he realized that the story was wanting, the paper had already gone to
bed, and the interested party had to pay that amount, to cover the
cost. That marked the end of his credible investigative career.

Teddy Seezi Cheeye: the courageous abrasive investigative journalist who has of recent died:

3 March, 2018

Written by URN

The media fraternity is mourning the passing of veteran journalist, Teddy Seezi Cheeye, whose controversial career ended in a hit and run motorcycle (boda-boda) accident at Nakawa on Thursday.

 

Recalling his journey in the newsroom, senior journalists say that Cheeye has left a mark in the journalism industry despite the tragedy that befell him long after he left the newsroom, finding himself in prison, for the same crime that he had fought through the use of the pen.

Mr Teddy Seezi Cheeye
Barnard Tabaire, the director of programmes and a co-founder of African Centre for Media Excellence (ACME) hails the late Teddy Seezi Cheeye for introducing crusading journalism in Uganda in the early 90's. Tabaire says Cheeye through Uganda Confidential, led a crusade against corruption and abuse of government.

 

He says that it is ironical that corruption later ended up engineering him years later after he had stopped publishing Uganda Confidential. Tabaire says much as Cheeye did not get everything accurate, he tried as much as he could to make the conduct of public affairs in Uganda more transparent.  

A number of other journalists have lamented the fact that Cheeye succumbed to corruption when he took up a job as the director for Economic Monitoring in the Internal Security Organization (ISO) and when he formed Uganda Centre for Accountability (UCA) whose activities landed him in trouble.

 

He was convicted by the Anti-Corruption court in April 2009 for embezzling Shs 120 million of the Global Fund and sentenced to 10 years in jail. He, however, served six of the ten years and was released a year ago for good conduct.  He was also ordered to refund Shs 110 million of the money he embezzled.

But despite the conviction and the jail sentence, many still believe that the late Cheeye exhibited courage required of a journalist to check excesses of those in authority. Samuel Gummah, the executive director of Uganda Radio Network says The Uganda Confidential, above everything else, helped to shape journalists in the country.

 
He said Cheeye personally pushed beyond the limits with his crusade journalism and exhibited courage that the untouchables in government could be touched through investigative journalism.

 

He adds that in the public, the late Cheeye became more of a commentator and campaigner and therefore failing to balance his stories. Gummah says even with that shortfall, Cheeye could still be credited because his stories generated public debate and discussion.

James Tumusiime, a former editor and contemporary of Cheeye in a book "What Makes Africans laugh? Reflections of an Entrepreneur in Humour Media" says the fallen journalist stood out with his aggressive style of commentary, which bordered on libel and defamation, threatening a backlash from the public.

Tumusiime wrote that because of his style, Cheeye positioned himself as the crusader against corruption on the one hand, and defender of the NRM ideological line on the other.

The Uganda Confidential, in the early 90's had a popular column; 'Feet of Clay' which targeted political figures and leaders. Some of its controversial commentaries then were about former minister of Energy Richard Kaijuka and the then secretary to the treasury, now Bank of Uganda governor Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile among others.

The Uganda Confidential reported that the then minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Richard Kaijuka, has received a bribe of $240,000 from Virginia-based AES Corporation, a private power company that had planned to build and operate a 200-megawatt dam at Bujagali rapids.

 
The controversy later led to the resignation of Kaijuka who has been appointed as an alternate executive director at the World Bank. An alternative executive director is somebody who stands in for an executive director when he/she is not present.  

 

It is this nature of journalism that would lead him to numerous charges of defamation and libel in courts. The courts awarded his victims hefty damages which Cheeye most times failed to pay.

Media consultant and trainer, Adolf Mbaine wrote in his thesis for the award of a degree of Master of Arts in Journalism and Media Studies that  Cheeye's style was rather unconventional and his paper began making all types of allegations against all manner of people; ministers and other government officials, traders, soldiers, academics, judges, private people.

 
After just two years of Uganda Confidential's existence, civil suits in the High court began to flow. Mbaine concluded that Uganda's defamation legal history would perhaps never have changed much, but for entry into the Ugandan press, in December 1990, of a newsletter called The Uganda Confidential, edited by Teddy Seezi Cheeye.

 

Cheeye personally complained that some figures in government had tried to use various means to discredit him and his stories, about government corruption. He battled several sedition charges too.

In 1996, Cheeye went through an embarrassing trial for allegedly kidnaping one Zainabu Puwata and attempting to rape her. He was acquitted when the magistrate ruled that the charge was a " frame-up engineered by powerful and corrupt people who Cheeye had been long been criticizing in his journalistic work.   

During several interviews upon his release from Luzira, Cheeye acknowledged the fact that he stepped on the toes of several people including a convicted prisoner who told him that he at one organized to have him killed. 

Cheeye was one of the founding members of the Daily Monitor newspaper alongside Charles Onyango Obbo, and Wafula Oguttu among others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Ugandan self made journalist Teddy Seezi Cheeye has been killed in a motor cycle accident in Nakawa, Kampala, Uganda:

1st March, 2018

Written by Observer Media Ltd

Former director for Economic Monitoring in the Internal Security Organisation (ISO) of the current National Resistance Movement Government, Teddy Sseezi Cheeye is dead.

Cheeye was reportedly knocked dead by a boda boda in Nakawa, a Kampala suburb while taking a walk.

Mr Teddy Seezi Cheeye

 

It is not immediately clear where Cheeye, of the famous Uganda Confidential fame was going at the time of the accident.

 

Capital Radio quotes Jinja road traffic officer ASP Bruce Oyinebye as saying that Cheeye was knocked by a speeding boda boda while crossing from Shell Nakawa petrol station along Nakawa traffic lights.

Cheeye returned from Luzira prison last year on March 3 after serving a 10-year sentence following his conviction on corruption charges on April 8, 2009.

Cheeye revealed to The Observer in  an interview last year that he had become a born again Christian after he was introduced to the Bible by fellow prisoners, some of who he helped send there in the first place.

 

 

 

 

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