What you need to know:
- This came to light during an interface between the committee chaired by Mr Joel Ssenyonyi (Nakawa West) and former Uganda Airlines board chairperson, Mr Perez Ahabwe.
Legislators on Parliament’s Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase) were on Thursday stunned to learn that at least Shs788m was splashed on 600 guests that were invited to a ceremony held to receive Uganda Airlines’ first aircraft, a CRJ900 Bombardier.
This came to light during an interface between the committee chaired by Mr Joel Ssenyonyi (Nakawa West) and former Uganda Airlines board chairperson, Mr Perez Ahabwe.
“At the launch of the event of receiving the first CRJ900 Bombardier Aircraft, the Airline incurred a huge costs of Shs788,725,483 for hosting 600 guests, an average cost of Shs1,297,876 per guest,” Mr Ssenyonyi said as he read a report authored by Works and Transport minister, Gen Katumba Wamala.
The report released on October 22, 2021, further states: “This was excessive and there was no value for money.”
The aforementioned matter was prepared as part of the evidence filed to Gen Katumba as a red flag of alleged dubious actions of Ms Jenifer Bamuturaki, the current chief executive of Uganda’s flag carrier.
A fortnight ago, Parliament established that the national carrier registered at least a loss of Shs498 billion in its first years of operation. In response, Mr Ahabwe faulted the government for not taking action on the red flags that his board members and the former chief executive, Mr Cornwell Muleya raised about the mess allegedly caused by Ms Bamuturaki who was then the commercial director of the national carrier.
Mr Ahabwe further said when Mr Muleya conducted an appraisal on Ms Bamuturaki, her incompetence was laid bare.
“[Mr Cornwell Muleya], who was Bamuturaki’s supervisor, appraised and testified that she was incompetent, insubordinate and had been involved in financial impropriety,” Mr Ahabwe told MPs, adding, “As a board, we agreed with management that we cannot continue with this kind of person given this record.”
Mr Ahabwe said they were shocked to learn that Ms Bamuturaki “who was not confirmed as the director is now returning as CEO of Uganda Airlines.”
Deeper interrogation into the matter could not be done by the committee as other persons that Mr Ahabwe served with on the board he led failed to attend on Thursday.
Mr Ssenyonyi has vowed to keep pressing for responses from Ms Bamuturaki, the current Board of the airlines, Ministry of Finance officials as well as from other major stakeholders when the probe resumes next week on Tuesday.
“We are going to follow up because we want Uganda Airlines to be run the right way because this is an entity which is fed by taxpayers’ money. That money has got to be accounted for,” Mr Ssenyonyi said.