Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka has said government will neither pay nor reinstate Cornwell Kiwanuka as Uganda Airlines Chief Executive Officer.
Mr Kiwanuka made the revelation while responding to claims by Muleya’s lawyers Muwema and Co. Advocates and Solicitors that the interim board issued him a notice to terminate his contract on February 15, 2022, in disregard of the due process as per the contract he had.
He said Muleya must not threaten government and think that they will fear and pay or reinstate him yet he is the one who is in the wrong.
“You cannot be in the wrong and threaten to sue us. Let him sue and we shall argue in court,” said Kiwanuka as quoted by Observer Newspaper.
According to his lawyers, Muleya accuses the government of unlawfully suspending and later terminating his employment contract and in turn, he wants to be reinstated or be paid Shs3.5bn.
In a letter, his lawyers wrote on March 28 to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Works who also acts as the interim board chairman, Muleya claims that Waiswa Bageya who authored the notice to terminate Muleya’s contract, did not disclose the reasons for the decision.
“His contract of employment did not have a termination clause and Muleya was also “never heard in any disciplinary proceedings,” reads the letter. “purported suspension and termination of our client’s services as the chief executive officer of UNACL were done contrary to all due process and the law. It presents a case of witch-hunt wrought with malice and it reeks of irregularities.”
Due to the irregularities cited by Muleya’s lawyers, the former CEO is demanding immediate reinstatement as company head and “an unconditional apology for the material inconvenience, reputational damage and loss suffered”.
However, his lawyers threatened that should the government fail to comply with the demands of their client, Muleya will take legal action and demand his terminal benefits amounting to Shs 3,545,186,318.
The Shs3.5bn includes salary arrears of Shs 126 million for the month of February 2022, Shs 1 billion as payment for general damages for reputation damages and Shs 1.2 billion as payment for damages for loss of expectation interest in employment among other claims.
In the same letter which was also copied to President Yoweri Museveni, the Attorney General, and the Ministry of Finance, the lawyers also claim that the move to terminate their client’s contract has caused him an immeasurable loss and damage to his distinguished career in the aviation industry, which he has built over the last 20 years.
His lawyers demand that by April 1st, the government must provide copies of the investigation report into the alleged mismanagement against him after he was sent on forced leave and on suspension and a copy of the proceedings and resolutions of the board of the airline upon, which a decision was made to terminate his services to their client. “And failure to avail the above-mentioned documents shall confirm the absence of any merit in the allegations levelled against our client,” the law firm noted.
Last year, Muleya, Paul Turacayisenga, the director of commercial, Rogers Wamara, procurement manager, Moses Wangalwa, sales and marketing officer Deo Nyanzi, Andrew Tumusiime (senior administration manager), Harvey Kalama (ground operational manager), Bruno Oringi (safety manager), Michael Kaliisa (quality manager), crew training manager Juliet Otage Odur and first officers Kenneth Kiyemba and Alex Kakooza were suspended on the orders of President Yoweri Museveni.
Their suspension was to pave way for the investigation into allegations of financial mismanagement, collusion, and nepotism in staff recruitment among other issues. However, after nine months of suspension, Muleya’s contract was terminated. Museveni also directed the disbandment of the Pereza Ahabwe-led board of directors. As a result, an interim board of directors chaired by Works ministry permanent secretary Waiswa Bageya was put in place to oversee the airline.
After investigations, and disciplinary proceedings against him and other suspended staff, the interim board took the decision to terminate Muleya’s contract. The board also terminated Wamara’s contract while the other managers and officers were reinstated or still on suspension pending the conclusion of investigations.
Muleya, a Zambian was hired by the Government in September 2019 to lead the move to revive the country’s national carrier and due to his tremendous work his contract was renewed three times till last year when he was sent on forced leave and suspension, his ongoing contract is to expire in September 2022.
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