The former Chief Executive Officer – CEO of the Uganda Airlines, Cornwell Muleya has challenged the termination of his contract and blamed it on his subsequent successor, Jenifer Bamuturaki.
Muleya, a Zambian made the revelation while appearing as a witness before the Parliamentary Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises – COSASE on Wednesday to explain his role in the irregular operations of the Airlines following a report of the Auditor General for the FY2020/2021.
Muleya’s involvement in the revival of the Uganda National Airlines Company – UNACL started in October 2019 as an aviation Consultant and Technical Advisor to the Taskforce leading to his appointment as the Airlines CEO on directives of the President.
He revealed to the MPs that his trouble started when he nipped all attempts of connivance, corruption, and intrigue and influence peddling by some top officials at Airlines, among who included Bamuturaki, then Commercial Director to fleece the Government.
Firstly, he pointed out that Bamuturaki was appraised for her work but failed to meet the minimum performance indicators and was recommended for termination and was given another chance by the Airlines Board, a scenario that brewed tensions and witch-hunt.
According to the former CEO, Bamuturaki also with vested interest recommended Abbaverta Group Limited, a private promotions and advertising firm implement a public relations campaign for the Airlines leading to the over invoicing with an aim to defraud the Company.
Muleya cited that Bamuturaki in her capacity as the Commercial Director influenced Abbaverta Group to over invoice the Airlines USD 404,000 (Shillings 1.538 billion) for their service instead of USD 172,000 (Shillings 648 million) with an inflated amount of USD 232,000 (Shillings 874 million), a deal he thwarted sparking war against him.
It is against this background that Muleya explained to the Committee that intrigue to fight his administration started because he was a stumbling block to kickbacks prompting the aggrieved officials starting to feed the President with distorted facts and half-truth to taint his integrity.
Later in a January 27, 2021, Muleya said he wrote a report to the President, the appointing authority to notify him of subversive activities of some Board of Directors at the time of pushing “for the promotion of self-interest” and in other cases plotting with some managers to make a quick buck.
But his report to the President did not save him, and on April 21, 2021 his despairs intensified after General Edward Katumba Wamala, the Minister of Works and Transport on order of the President sent him and 12 other top officials on forced leave and later put them on suspension.
Their suspension was to pave the way for investigations into allegations of financial mismanagement, collusion, unethical conduct and nepotism in staff recruitment, failure to supervise staff, and curb corruption at the national carrier among other issues. At the time of the termination of his contract on February 15th 2022, Muleya had served the Airlines for nine months.
Furthermore, Muleya challenged his termination which was communicated to him by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Works and Transport as opposed to the Chairperson of the Board after a resolution as provided for on his contract.
In May 2022, Muleya through city law firm, Muwema & Co Advocates & Solicitors filed a suit at the Industrial Court in Kampala challenging his sacking from Uganda Airlines. He seeks Shillings 3.3 billion in compensation for salary arrears, gratuity, un-taken leave, reimbursement for fuel, telephone and toll expenses, repatriation allowances and damages, among others.
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