How UMP-NET’s Tony Ssempijja ripped off Bobi Wine concert organisers of 1.2bn Museveni cash

Tonny Sempijja (in black) at Ggaba recently.

For Abby Musinguzi popularly known as Abitex, most of his Tuesday was spent at the Ministry of Tourism offices crying crocodile tears after Tony Ssempijja, the Coordinator, Uganda Music Promoters and Venue Owners’ Network (UMP-NET) made off with Shs1.2bn that President Yoweri Museveni had given as compensation for the cancellation of Bobi Wine’s concerts last year.

Abitex who was left in the office as the acting President of the Federation Uganda Promoters and Events Organizers Association (FUPA) met with Minister, Godfrey Kiwanda to explain how a rogue group headed by Ssempijja masqueraded as the organisers of Bobi Wine’s foiled concerts and collected money to the tune of Shs1.2bn from the custodian — Culture and Gender State Minister, Lukia Isanga Nakadama.

Although the money was supposed to go through FUPA which would then issue it out to the rightful claimants, Ssempijja allegedly only gave a little bit of it to some concert organisers and his friends before pocketing the hefty balance.

According to Sarah Nasuuna, the promoter who fainted at the Uganda Police Headquarters after the cancellation of one of the Kyadondo East MP’s concerts said that of the Shs50m that she lost, Ssempijja only gave her Shs10m and bragged that “there was no way that she could have lost 50m”.

A furious Nasuuna told Matooke Republic that Ssempijja has never organised a serious concert in his life and therefore has no moral authority to decide how much a concert organiser could have lost.

“Ssempijja is using his connections with the Salim Saleh to act with impunity. How can a man who doesn’t even know how they stand when organising a concert be the one deciding how much we get? I lost two concerts, I had already paid deposits on one of them, money lenders are almost attaching my property and Ssempijja is bragging,” she fumed.

From the meeting with Kiwanda, Abitex told Matooke Republic on phone that the matter had been forwarded to the Culture and Gender minister to resolve and also explain how and why the money given by the President to be handed over to FUPA then ended up with Ssempijja and the Uganda Music Promoters and Venue Owners’ Network.

Ssempijja speaks out

According to Ssempijja, the money came through UMP-NET because he is the one who made the plans to ensure that the president is met and the money lost is refunded. He also adds that only members of their association were paid.

“Where we were supposed to find those people when they refused to register with our association? And some of those complaining organised shows as early as July yet the plan was that only those who concerts were around the festive season be compensated,” he argued.

Among the promoters paid were Dick Productions (150m), Emma Serugo of the flopped Kyarenga Concert at Namboole Stadium, Fifi from Mubende, Ssempijja’s UUBA bouncers who claimed that Bobi Wine did not pay them after the Kyarenga Concert at One Love Beach and Sarah Nasuuna who only got 10m of the 50m she allegedly lost.

The aggrieved promoters whose money wasn’t paid now demand that their money is paid in full or that Bobi Wine is allowed to grace their respective venues and performs in respect to the agreements signed in order to recover their money.