The Inspectorate of Government has arrested former Uganda Airlines Chief Executive Officer, Cornwell Muleya.
Muleya was the CEO of the national airline until, April 2021 when the Minister of Works and Transport, Gen Edward Katumba Wamala suspended him together with other senior managers of the national carrier.
On Tuesday, the deputy Inspector General of Government, Dr. Patricia Achan Okiria said they are currently carrying out investigations into mismanagement of the national carrier during the period when Muleya was the CEO.
“In the court of our investigations, the Inspectorate of Government summoned him to give information and facilitate the investigations but failed to heed to the summons. Consequently, Mr.Cornwell Muleya has been arrested and charged with the offence of failure to attend before the Inspectorate of Government when so ordered,” Dr.Achan said.
She explained that Muleya has been arrested in accordance with section 35 of Inspectorate of Act 2002 for willfully and without lawful justification disobeying an order of the IGG when ordered.
“He is the former CEO of the airline and during term of his office there were irregularities discovered and complaint was filed here over a year ago .Beign CEO of the airline we expected him to comply with our summons to give us information regarding to his management but he refused. We have arrested him and currently writing a statement before being taken to court tomorrow,” the deputy IGG.
Muleya’s arrest comes at a time when he filed a case in which he wants government to compensate him to a tune of shs3.5 billion over termination of his contract with the national airline.
Many would say that the arrest is a form of witch-hunt to the sacked Uganda Airline CEO but the deputy IGG says this is not true.
“This is not witch-hunt. That matter(of termination of contract) is in in industrial court, for us we are looking at mismanagement of Uganda airlines during his tenure. The other matter is to be determined by court and we can’t go into it. For us looking at the mismanagement aspect because government invested a lot of money in the airline and was put to waste,”Dr.Achan said.
Storm brewed at the national carrier as the battle for control threatened the success of the airline, a few years after its revival.
A January 27, 2021 dossier to President Museveni by the national carrier Chief Executive Officer, Cornwell Muleya indicated that intrigue, corruption and interference were the order of the day.
According to the report, some board members have on several occasions met with some members of the management team to inflate invoices in a bid to make money out of the airline and that this has led to division among the management team as well as inefficiency in the management of the airline.
The report indicated that managers working with backing from some of the board members to inflate invoices have on several occasions to slow down some of the airline projects as they push their own selfish agendas with protection from the “godfathers” on the board.
The report indicated that some board members view the CEO as being too rigid and not flexible on the issue of corruption as people find it hard to work with him.
“They advised that I must try to understand how business is done in Uganda because these practices are normal in this country, otherwise I will find myself alone. They have gone so far as to suggest that our ethical approach management may be one of the reasons why we are experiencing delays in the release of company project funds from the ministries within government.”
According to the Uganda Airlines CEO, it has been told him directly in the face that many projects have failed to take off because he has refused to give kickbacks to some government officials to give a green light to the projects.
It was reported that in 2019, the airline contracted services of Abbavater as its publicity and promotions agency to design and perform sales and marketing activities but little did they know that the Commercial Director then had connections in the company yet it was under her department to supervise it.
“When the company was contracted to do this work, management was not aware that some of the managers within the airline, including the Commercial Director whose duty it was to manage this service, had intimate connections with this company. This only came to light after the agency’s services to the airline were found to be below par to a point where management had to recommend to the board to terminate their contract.”
The report said that investigations found out that the agency had either bribed its way into the airline or attempted to bribe some managers in order to get the contract.
President Museveni would later order investigations into the mismanagement of the national carrier among other issues which later led to Muleya’s suspension.
His contract was later terminated.