Sacked Uganda Airlines boss, Cornwell Muleya arrested

Former Uganda Airlines Chief Executive Officer, Cornwell Muleya (C) is seen after his arrest was effected by officials from the Inspector General of Government (IGG) office on June 21, 2022. PHOTO/DAVID LUBOWA

The Inspectorate of Government (IG) has, with the help of police, arrested former Uganda Airlines chief executive officer, Mr Cornwell Muleya.
Mr Muleya was arrested on Tuesday for allegedly disobeying the IGG's orders contrary to section 35 (a) of the Inspectorate of Government Act, 2002.

Former Uganda Airlines chief, Mr Cornwell Muleya is led to a car by an official from the IGG's office prior to his arrest in Kampala on June 21, 2022. PHOTO/DAVID LUBOWA
 


When contacted by this publication, the IG spokesperson, Ms Ali Munira confirmed the arrest and said Mr Muleya was in custody and expected to be produced in court tomorrow (June 22).

"Mr Muleya between May and June 2022 willfully and without reasonable justification or excuse, refused to comply with an order of the Inspectorate of Government dated May 23, 2022 requiring his attendance to give evidence and produce documents to the Inspectorate of Government, regarding mismanagement of public funds, procurements and recruitment of staff at the Uganda Airlines," the charge sheet signed by the deputy IGG, Patricia Achan Okiria, whose copy was seen by this publication reads in part. 

Involved in Uganda Airlines revival 

Muleya was among the officials involved in the revival of the airline. He is a Zambian who ventured into aviation in 1995 as general manager and CEO of Air Botswana Corporation for eight years, moved on to Air Mauritius, and worked as CEO for Zambezi Airlines Ltd and ALS Limited in Kenya. 
Then, he was contracted as CEO of Air Uganda in 2013.  He has thereby worked in aviation for over 23 years. However, his woes started on April 21, 2021, after Works minister Edward Katumba Wamala sent him and 12 other top officials on forced leave and later put them on suspension.  

Suspension 

They were suspended on the orders of President Museveni to pave way for investigations into allegations of financial mismanagement, collusion, and nepotism in staff recruitment among other issues. 
After nine months of suspension, Muleya's contract was terminated. 

Mr Muleya's arrest comes days after a mediation process that had sought to find an agreeable solution in a Shs3.3b case between him and Uganda Airlines collapsed last month.

The case was then referred to the Industrial Court for disposal given that no Uganda Airlines or government official appeared at the scheduled mediation meetings. 

“Uganda Airlines did not appear on two consecutive occasions. We hope they appear in the Industrial Court.  Otherwise the case will proceed to be heard and determined in their absence. They should defend the actions they took, that is how issues will be resolved,” Mr Fred Muwema whose law firm - Muwema & Co Advocates & Solicitors - is representing Mr Cornwell Muleya, who is challenging his sacking from Uganda Airlines told this publication on May 5.  

Former Uganda Airlines chief, Mr Cornwell Muleya is arrested officials from the IGG's office in Kampala on June 21, 2022. PHOTO/DAVID LUBOWA
 


The Wakiso District Labour Office had on April 21 invited representatives from Uganda Airlines and Mr Muleya for mediation in a case in which the former chief executive officer is seeking compensation over alleged illegal sacking.

Court intervention         

In a March 28 letter wrote to Ministry of Works seeking compensation up to a tune of Shs3.3b being payment of salary arrears, gratuity, untaken leave, reimbursement for fuel, telephone and toll expenses, repatriation allowances and damages, among others. He also demand for immediate reinstatement into his job and “an unconditional apology for the material inconvenience, reputational damage and loss suffered”.

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