Bamuturaki under fire over Shs788m invoice
Lawmakers on parliament's committee on commissions, statutory bodies and state-owned enterprises (Cosase) were stunned thursday to learn that at least Shs788m had been sprayed on the 600 guests who were invited to a ceremony held to receive Uganda's first aircraft, the CRJ900 Bombardier.
This was revealed during an interaction between the committee chaired by Mr Joel Señoni (Nakawa West) and the former Chairman of the Board of Uganda Airlines, Mr. Perez Ahabwe.
“During the launch of the event to obtain the first CRJ900 Bombardier aircraft, the airline incurred huge shs788,725,483 costs for accommodating 600 guests, with an average cost of Shs1,297,876 per guest,” Mr. Señoni said while reading a report authored by the Minister of Works and Transport, General Katumba Vamala.
The report, published on October 22, 2021, further states: “It was excessive and there was no value for money.”
The aforementioned case was prepared as part of evidence presented to General Katumbi as a red flag of the allegedly questionable actions of Ms. Jenifer Bamuturaki, the current chief executive officer of Uganda's standard-bearer.
Two weeks ago, parliament found that the national carrier had registered at least a loss of Shs498 billion in its first years of operation. In response, Mr Ahabe accused the government of failing to take action on the red flags that its board members and former chief executive officer, Mr. Cornwell Muleia, raised about the turmoil allegedly caused by Ms. Bamuturaki, who was then the commercial director of the national carrier.
Mr Ahabwe went on to say that when Mr Muleya conducted Ms. Bamuturaki's assessment, her incompetence was exposed.
“[Mr Cornwell Muleya], who was the head of Bamuturaki, assessed and testified that she was incompetent, disobedient and was involved in financial misplacement,” Mr Ahabwe told MPs, adding: “As a board, we have agreed with the management that we cannot continue with such a person, given this record.”
Mr Ahabwe said they were shocked to learn that Ms Bamuturaki, “who has not been confirmed as director, is now returning as CEO of Uganda Airlines”.
A deeper interrogation in the case could not have been conducted by the committee because other persons with whom Mr. Ahabwe served on the council he chaired were unable to attend on Thursday.
Mr Senyoni has vowed to continue pushing for responses from Ms Bamuturaki, the current airline board, Finance Ministry officials as well as other major stakeholders when the probe resumes next week on Tuesday.
“We're going to continue because we want Uganda Airlines to work properly because it's an organization that feeds on taxpayers' money. This money must be taken into account,” Mr. Señoni said.