Muhumuza however, says that a substantial question of the law or fact arose in the proceedings, which his office can’t resolve. Muhumuza notes that Muleya worked as CEO of Uganda Airlines and was sent on forced leave by the Chairperson Board of Directors on allegations of several mismanagement issues.
Letter referring labour dispute to Industrial Court
The Wakiso Labor office
has referred the dispute between Uganda Airlines and its former Chief Executive
Officer- Cornwell Muleya to the Industrial Court citing a substantial question
of law that arose from the proceedings.
In his May 11, 2022 letter to the Industrial
Court, Celestine Muhumuza, a senior Labour office in the Labour Ministry notes
that he invited the two parties for a mediation meeting on April 12th, 2022 with
the view to an amicable settlement of Muleya’s complaint of unlawful dismissal.
He, however, notes that Uganda
Airlines deliberately refused to show up even when he made it clear that their failure
to comply would prompt him to refer the dispute to the Industrial Court for handling.
He explains that the initial meeting didn’t take place, prompting him to
schedule another one for May 2, 2022, in vain.
Muhumuza however, says that a
substantial question of the law or fact arose in the proceedings, which his
office can’t resolve. Muhumuza notes that Muleya
worked as CEO of Uganda Airlines and was sent on forced leave by the
Chairperson Board of Directors on allegations of several mismanagement issues.
"However it is alleged that he was not given the opportunity to defend himself on the allegations put against him,” reads the
letter. It is on this ground that he "desires the court to
determine and dispose of the dispute." Muleya lodged his complaint reference
number LD.07.04.22 under Employment Act 2006 at the Wakiso Labour office
on April 4, 2022.
It came after the government terminated his contract as the CEO
of Uganda Airlines in mid-February this year. Muleya's woes started
on April 21st, 2021 after Works Minister Edward Katumba Wamala sent him and 12
other top officials on forced leave.
The minister eventually suspended the
officials on the orders of President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni to pave way for
investigations into allegations of financial mismanagement, collusion, and
nepotism in staff recruitment among other issues. Muleya served as CEO
from 2019 to May last year.
He now wants the government to reinstate him or pay him over Shillings
3.5 billion in terminal benefits. Through his lawyers, Muwema and Co.
Advocates, Muleya accuses the government of unlawfully suspending and later
terminating his employment contract.
On March 28, the law fim wrote to Waiswa Bageya, the chairman of the interim board chairman of Uganda Airlines and Permanent
Secretary of the Ministry of Works protesting Muleya's dismissal. Muleya
claims that the interim board issued him a notice to terminate his contract on
February 15, 2022, in disregard of the due process.
His lawyers say 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.
Adding that "the purported suspension and
termination of our client's services as the Chief Executive Officer of UNACL
was done contrary to all due process and the law. It presents a case of
witch-hunt wrought with malice and it reeks of irregularities."
The law firm warned of legal action should
the government fail to reinstate Muleya as CEO. They also indicated that they would be seeking the terminal benefits for their client amounting to
Shillings 3,545, 186,318. This includes salary arrears of Shillings 126
million for February 2022, Shillings one billion for reputation damages and
Shillings 1.2 billion for loss of expectation interest in employment among
The board accused Muleya of alleged failure to
supervise and curb corruption of staff under his watch, delayed operation of
the Airbus A330-800Neo and the self-handling project, gross procurement
malpractice, financial mismanagement, and unethical human resource practices in
recruitment. In March 2022, Attorney General, Kiryowa Kiwanuka responded
to Muwema’s letter to the interim board
chairman and dared him to go ahead and sue the government.