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EDITORIAL

LETS END CORRUPTION IN UGANDA AIRLINES

By Ouma Stephen Bwire-Editor.

Uganda Parliament’s Committee on Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE)   that is probing into the irregular operations of the loss – making Uganda Airlines, has reported death threats.

Committee Chairman Mr Joel Senyonyi confirmed the threats,   adding that they would not backtrack from holding corrupt public officials accountable for causing financial losses to government.

So far findings of the committee castigated the Airlines’ Chief Executive Officer, Ms Jenifer Bamuturaki, and other senior officers for lacking integrity and prerequisite qualifications to manage operations of the national carrier.

Uganda Airlines   that commenced operations on August 28, 2019, has failed to make any profit and instead for  two and half years since hitting the skies ,  the airline has incurred losses of  over Ushs 500b.

COSASE also discovered that the Uganda Airlines board cleared and endorsed irregularly appointment of Ms Bamuturaki in July 2022 on directive of President Yoweri Museveni. But to everyone’s consternation the competitive process to select a CEO through PriceWaterHouseCoopers, a consultancy firm, was unofficially terminated.

Ms Bamuturaki , who did not present academic papers and who never applied for the job, was appointed leaving  out  40 qualified applicants who were waiting to be shortlisted for interviews.

It is interesting how Uganda Airlines board was convinced beyond reasonable doubt that Ms Jenifer Bamuturaki, who never applied for the job,  was most suitably qualified applicant for position of CEO.   But as if that was not bad enough the brief search for a CEO cost the sinking airline a whopping Ushs 95 million.

 The Auditor General and the airline internal financial records show massive corruption, extravagant spending, inflated costs for operations, “ air supply” in service delivery, unclear allowances for officials and outrageous salaries paid out to senior managers.

For instance Uganda Airlines continues to pay colossal sums to Abbavater Group Limited, a Public Relations Firm, which is linked to the senior airline managers.

Abbavater was hired as event managers for receipt of the first  Bombadier CRJ 900s in April, 2019 at a hefty cost of Ushs 778 million before being appointed as Public Relations Agency for Uganda Airlines. There are other expenditures by the airline where tax payers’ money was fleeced under dubious circumstances and the culprits  remain at large.

Works and Transport Ministry officials should stop nepotism and politicking, and cleanup Uganda Airlines before its final  collapse.

If government has failed to run the national carrier then let it  be privatized to foreign investors■

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