Suspended airlines bosses asked to resign

The top management of the national carrier, Uganda Airlines, was cleared by the stakeholders. PHOTO/FILE

What you need to know:

  • The decision to give the suspended board members what sources called “a departure package” was reached after shareholders concluded investigations, and found no evidence to merit any sanctions.

Suspended board members of Uganda Airlines, a national carrier, have been asked to resign and promised a handshake for their troubles.
The decision to give the suspended board members what sources called “a departure package” was reached after shareholders concluded investigations, and found no evidence to merit any sanctions.  
Ms Bisereko Kyomuhendo, the company secretary, yesterday wrote to a seven-member board of Uganda Airlines led by Mr Godfrey Ahabwe Pereza, the former Rubanda East MP and Minister of Local Government, detailing the exit strategy and terms.

Ms Kyomuhendo made reference to the suspended members’ interaction with the shareholders of Uganda Airlines Company Ltd at the Extra Ordinary Annual General Meeting on October 5, 2021 at Sheraton Hotel Kampala and another follow-up meeting at Protea Hotel, Kololo, on October 13, 2021.    
In the two meetings, it was agreed that that the suspended members may submit their resignation from the board in accordance with Article 76(d) of the Articles of Association and the terms in their letter of appointment. 
The shareholders approved a handshake of more than Shs30 million and a retainer fee of about Shs5m per month for six months for each member.

The affected board members, who spoke to Daily Monitor last evening on condition of anonymity, were still undecided on how to proceed. 
Ms Kyomuhendo had instructed them to submit their responses to Works and Transport Minister Gen Edward Katumba Wamala as soon as possible. 
Gen Katumba is expected to address a news conference this week to announce the new developments and the new board, replacing the current interim leadership put in place after the suspension of Mr Ahabwe’s team. 

The various ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) have already been asked to second names for the new board. In August last year, President Museveni ordered the dissolution of the board following an investigation that revealed allegations of widespread corruption, collusion and mismanagement. 
In his letter, the President ordered Gen Katumba to dissolve the board of directors and consider prosecuting Uganda Airlines officials he accused of indulging in corrupt practices such as pocketing bribes and mismanaging the national carrier like personal property.

The President has instructed Gen Katumba and other relevant government authorities to interdict all suspended Uganda Airlines managers and hand them over to the Inspector General of Government (IGG) for possible prosecution.
“All disciplinary, dismissals, termination of contracts, prosecutions and interdiction should be carried out expeditiously and following legal procedures,” the President wrote. 
 “All implicated officers should be referred to the IGG for prosecution and possible recovery of public funds,” he added.

The grounds

The President has listed a total of 14 grounds against the board members, including Mr Godfrey  Ahabwe Pereza, Mr Benon Kajuna, Mr Godfrey Ssemugooma, Ms Catherine Asinde Poran, Mr Charles Hamya, and Ms Rehema Mutazindwa. The board members have been accused of incompetence, ignoring security vetting, perpetuating corruption in recruitment, grounding the two airbuses for eight months [December 2020 and January 2021], collusion with management, mismanaging contracts and micromanaging the institution and sloppiness. The suspended directors denied any wrongdoing and argued that their oversight mandate didn’t warrant them to be in charge of operational issues.

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