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COSASE Queries Appointment of Uganda Airlines CEO, Demand Staff Structure

Notably, the Auditor General's report FY 2020/2021 pointed out that without an approved staff structure, the recruitment of the 107 staff of the Airlines during the Financial Year under reviewed is rendered irregular, and affects proper planning and budgeting for staff costs.
Uganda Airlines CEO Jenifer Bamuturaki (R) in white responding to MPs on COSASE. Photo by Dominic Ochola_URN

Audio 2



Legislators sitting on the Commissions, Statutory Authority and State Enterprises - COSASE have queried the appointment of Jenifer Bamuturaki as the Chief Executive Officer – CEO of the Uganda National Airlines Company Limited – UNACL.

The legislators led by the Nakawa West Constituency MP, Joel Ssenyonyi on Tuesday also demanded management of the Airlines to produce a harmonized staff structure within 30 days. It follows a shocking salary structure and grades for the top officials at the national flag carrier. 

The Committee commenced an investigation into the operations of the Uganda Airlines following a red flag raised by John Muwanga, the Auditor General in his report for the Financial Year 2020/2021.

The Airlines' Human Resource Policies and Procedures Manual 2019 states that the Board shall approve the level positions into which recruitment may be made, however, at the time of conducting the audit, there was no official staff structure and any establishment to assess staff status, recruitment and needs.

Notably, the Auditor General's report FY 2020/2021 pointed out that without an approved staff structure, the recruitment of the 107 staff of the Airlines during the Financial Year under reviewed is rendered irregular, and affects proper planning and budgeting for staff costs.

It is against this background that the Committee Chairperson, Ssenyonyi issued a 30-day ultimatum to the Airlines' officials led by their CEO, Jenifer Bamuturaki up to September 16, 2022 to come up with the proper structure which is approved by the Board, and present it to them.

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Yusuf Nsibambi, the Mawokota South Constituency MP tasked the Airlines' Board Chairperson, Priscilla Mirembe Serukka, who, was represented in the meeting by Herbert Kamuntu, a Board Member to explain the criteria they used to handpick Bamuturaki as the preferred CEO.

In response, Kamuntu told the MPs that prior to her appointment by President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni in April 2022, which was confirmed by Gen. Katumba Wamala, the Minister of Works and Transport on July 8th 2022, Bamuturaki, had good management skills after she volunteered and worked as an aide to the CEO, and later acting as CEO for over 12 months before her appointment.

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Kamuntu revealed that the Airlines initially contracted a recruitment firm to hire a substantive CEO, and received 40 applications from different candidates, adding that they abandoned the recruitment process following a directive by the President which led to Bamuturaki's subsequent appointment.

Further, the MPs were concerned and demanded an explanation from the Company Secretary, Bisereko Kyomuhendo, explain why the Airlines ring-fenced the position for Bamuturaki after receiving 40 applications and spending Shillings 95 million towards the search for the new CEO.

According to the Auditor General's report, during the period under review, the Airlines budgeted to incur Shillings 22.329 billion on salaries but, review of the Financial Statements and payrolls for the same period indicated that Shillings 27.428 was incurred in respect of salaries and staff expenses, implying an excess expenditure Shillings 4.919 billion.

To this end, the Auditor General’s report revealed that despite lack of a salary structure, top managers, especially from the Captain category employees were variably earning Shillings 65.2 million, 63.4 million, 62.6 million, 54.1 million and 38.2 million among others. The MPs were also shocked that the former CEO Muleya earned Shillings 126 million every month while Bamuturaki now earns Shillings 87 million monthly.

The Auditor General revealed that the financial analysis of the Airlines, it made losses for the FY2019/2020 and 2020/2021 amounting to Shillings 102.442 and 164.573 billion respectively. The current carrier began flying in August 2019, and it is a revival of the older Uganda Airlines which operated from 1977 until 2001.