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MPs Cite Death Threats in Ongoing Probe into Uganda Airlines

Committee chairman Joel Ssenyonyi confirmed the threats, saying however that they won’t back off from holding corrupt public officials accountable for causing financial losses to the Government, adding that they have surrendered their safety and well-being into God’s hand for divine protection.
COSASE Chairperson Joel Ssenyonyi. Photo by Dominc Ochola

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Lawmakers sitting on the Parliamentary Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises – COSASE have cited death threats relating to the ongoing probe into the irregular operations of the Uganda Airlines.

Committee Chairman Joel Senyonyi confirmed the threats, reaffirming that they won’t back off from holding corrupt public officials accountable for causing financial losses to the Government, adding that they have surrendered their safety and well-being in God’s hand for divine protection.

Preliminary findings of the Committee have pinned down the Airlines Chief Executive Officer – CEO, Jenifer Bamuturaki, and other senior officers for lack of integrity and prerequisite qualifications to steer successful operations of the national flagship and cargo carrier.

The Committee discovered that the Board unlawfully endorsed the appointment of Bamuturaki by President Yoweri Museveni in July 2022 after a competitive process for the selection of the ideal CEO through a consultancy firm, PriceWaterHouseCoopers, was irregularly terminated.

The sudden end to the search process that cost Shillings 95 million and paved way for the ring-fencing of the position for Bamuturaki, yet she had not applied for it. Forty candidates had already applied for the position awaiting shortlisting and subsequent interviews. The board, therefore, had no way of ascertaining whether Bamuturaki was more competent that any or all of the 40 applicants. 

The Committee also discovered that prior to her elevation as CEO, Bamuturaki, as the Commercial Director and doubling as the Contracts Manager, connived with then acting CEO Ephraim Kalyebara Bagenda to exclusively solicit for Abbavater Group Limited to undertake public relations work for the Airlines without competitive bidding process.

Consequently, the duo influenced the award of the service contract amounting to 540,000 US dollars, about two billion Shillings, to the Abbavater Group which flouted the procedures of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets - PPDA Act of 2003.

Apparently, three legislators who spoke to URN and requested their names be withheld to shield them against further intimidations, disclosed that they have already received phone calls from unidentified persons warning them not to probe the queries deeper or face ‘regrettable consequences.’

But for the record, Joel Ssenyonyi, the Committee Chairperson confirmed the threats, adding that similar threats recently also arose from their previous investigations into the Uganda Railways Corporation – URC, with the latest being the Uganda Land Commission

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Ssenyonyi reaffirmed that they won’t back off from holding corrupt public officials accountable for causing financial losses to the Government, adding that they have surrendered their safety and well-being in God’s hand for divine protection.

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The Ssenyonyi Committee findings further corroborate the report of the Auditor General for the Financial Year 2020/2021 implicating the Airlines for operating without the recommended staff and salary structures, operating at a loss and flouting procurement guidelines.

The MPs are also worried for the safety of their witnesses who have been crucial in sharing relevant documents to facilitate the investigation processes to hold accountable culprits who have misused public resources. 

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