Entebbe Handling Services (ENHAS), the private company owned by Sam Kutesa, the presumptive President of the United Nations General Assembly and Uganda’s foreign affairs minister is registered as a vendor with the UN, a spokesperson has confirmed.
The Spokesperson’s statement also hints that Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon may be distancing himself from Kutesa.
The Black Star News has previously reported that Kutesa, because of his ownership of ENHAS, could face a conflict of interest if confirmed as President of the General Assembly. He is scheduled to be voted in by acclamation by members of the General Assembly this afternoon at 3PM at the UN headquarters in New York.
ENHAS on its website lists as clients UN peace keeping operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO); in South Sudan (UNMISS), and in Darfur (UNAMID). ENHAS is an airports, baggage and cargo handling services operations.
It was founded in 1996 in Uganda and at the time Mr. Kutesa was censured by Uganda’s Parliament for corruption in 1999 he was the company’s chairman. The company’s ceo has not responded to several messages by The Black Star News inquiring about the size of Mr. Kutesa’s current ownership stake.
ENHAS first won a contract for services to 10 United Nations airports in the DR Congo in 2006 according to media reports quoting its ceo Tytens Georges at the time; the company then also was negotiation with the UN to handle 10 airports in the Sudan. ENHAS handles UN airports in the DR Congo and also Juba airport in war-torn South Sudan where Uganda troops intervened and seized the airport in December.
The Black Star reported that Kutesa through ENHAS profits from the UN deals through wars that Uganda is engaged in such as South Sudan or wars launched by Uganda as in DR Congo, where Kampala was found liable for war crimes and ordered to pay reparations of $6 billion to $10 billion by the International Court of Justice in 2005.
After several inquiries by The Black Star News to the Office of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon over the past week, a spokesperson this morning sent a brief e-mail message which also suggests that the Secretary General is also having difficulty getting information from Kutesa.
Responding to The Black Star News’s queries about the status of UN contracts with ENHAS and a report that the U.K. had considered a visa ban on Kutesa for what a U.S. ambassador called “eggregious” corruption, a UN Secretary General’s spokesperson’s statement reads: “We’ve been trying to see what Mr Kutesa’s office will say about these developments, since the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General doesn’t speak for him. I believe his office may issue a statement this afternoon, when the vote concerning him is scheduled to take place. As for ENHAS contracts, ENHAS is registered as a UN vendor.”
The Black Star News has asked for details about all UN contracts with ENHAS and submitted additional questions about what process triggers resignation in cases of conflict of interest.