Gov’t Officially Sacks Uganda Airlines CEO Cornwell Muleya

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Following months of investigations into alleged financial mismanagement in Uganda Airlines, the interim board of directors has terminated the contract of the chief executive officer (CEO) Cornwell Muleya and other top managers.

Gen Katumba Wamala, the minister of Transport suspended Muleya and 12 other top officials on April 21, 2021, on the orders of President Yoweri Museveni.

The suspension was to pave way for a full-blown investigation into allegations of financial mismanagement, collusion, and nepotism in staff recruitment at the country’s recently revived national airline.

The decision to terminate their contracts comes weeks after Auditor General John Muwanga, noted in his latest audit report that Uganda Airlines is losing billions due to the delayed conclusions of the suspension cases.

The permanent secretary of the ministry of Works and Transport Waiswa Bageya says that the decision the terminate their contracts was taken on February 18, 2022, by the interim board of directors.

“We have concluded the case against most of the suspended officials administratively. But we are also waiting for the decision of Inspector General of Government (IGG) on the matter.

“I cannot disclose the reasons for the CEO’s termination right now because the IGG is still conducting investigations. But the interim board of directors decided to terminate his contract because the allegations against him were substantial and he was found culpable,” Bageya told URN.

Other affected top managers included finance director Paul Turacayisenga, Rogers Wamara the director commercial and procurement manager Moses Wangalwa. Others are; 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.

Museveni also directed the disbandment of the Pereza Ahabwe, the chairperson board of directors. As a result, an interim board of directors chaired by Bageya was put in place to oversee the airline. After nine months on suspension, Bageya says the interim board has decided to terminate the CEO’s contract and that of Wamara.

Bageya however says the other managers and officers have either been terminated or reinstated while two are still on suspension pending vetting from security agencies and confirmation on whether they passed technical training. Bageya says the Inspectorate of Government had also picked interest in the allegations against the suspended staff.

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Muleya, a Zambian, ventured into aviation in 1995 as general manager and CEO of Air Botswana Corporation for eight years, moved on to Air Mauritius, and worked as CEO for Zambezi Airlines Ltd and ALS Limited in Kenya. Then, he was contracted as CEO of Air Uganda in 2013. He has thereby worked in aviation for over 23 years.

Muwanga noted that the suspended staff remained on the same terms of the contract and those acting in their positions “receive extra pay implying double payment for the same position.

Additional reporting by URN

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