Aviation authority clarifies on woes

While appearing before the parliamentary Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) last week, Mr. Fred Bamwesigye the director-general for Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) revealed that the purported bickering within the aviation body stems from competition for the top job at UCAA.

There have been several accusations and counter-accusations spread on social media, which Mr. Bamwesigye links to his opponents. On October 7, he told Parliament’s COSASE members that the allegations under probe were the work of people who wanted him out of his job.

Mr. Fred Bamwesigye the UCAA Director General

This was after the committee chairman, Mr. Joel Ssenyonyi (Nakawa West), quoting a whistleblower, asked Mr. Bamwesigye to explain allegations that he had hired some relatives. Ssenyonyi noted he had been availed with information that recruitment at UCCA is not done on merit, which would affect the performance of the organisation.

Bamwesigye denied the allegations, arguing that they are part of the internal politics from people who wanted him out of the job. “This committee and any other committee should realise that whistleblowers may want to correct things but some do it maliciously to fight those who occupy certain positions,” Mr. Bamwesigye said.

He explained that similar allegations had been brought to the attention of President Yoweri Museveni, the Inspector General of Government and the previous committee of COSASE. The UCCA boss gave an analogy that if he joined Parliament, he would not stop other people from joining.

MPs react

The Rukiga County MP Roland Ndyomugenyi wondering whether it was procedurally right for the committee to delve into matters which ought to be left to the Auditor General to investigate. Rubanda Woman MP Prossy Mbabazi Akampurira said it was not bad to employ relatives as long as they are qualified.

Bwamba County MP Richard Gafabusa asked Ssenyonyi to provide Bamwesigye with the list of employees linked to him. Bamwesigye assured the committee that he would not only submit the list of all staff, but would also accompany it with an explanation of how they were recruited in the authority.

Academic documents

There have also been circulating social media allegations claiming discrepancies in the age and name for Mr. Bamwesigye. The matter first came to light through a purported whistle-blower’s letter to various investigative bodies, including the office of the Inspector General of Government. However, official information indicate that the allegations were fully investigated several times and dropped as being “unfounded and baseless.”

In April 2021, a seemingly recycled anonymous whistleblower report was again sent to the Inspectorate of Government over the same claims, and in a media interview, the then Ag. IGG, noted that the claims were first presented to the IGG in 2017, comprehensively investigated and found to be untrue.

UCAA responds

Vianney Luggya the UCAA public relations manager explained that the matter has also been to court through civil suit no. 110 of 2021, and court exonerated Mr. Bamwesigye on April 9, 2021. “He erroneously recorded conflicting dates in his early school days, which was carried on in the first years of employment. However, upon confirmation of the right date of birth, following recovery of authentic documentation, including a baptism card, the right date was formally regularized through a September 2007 Statutory Declaration, and this was long before contemplating that he would in future vie for the position of DG for UCAA,” explained Mr. Luggya.

Mr. Vianney Luggya the UCAA Public Relations Manager

He further noted that the records being discussed on social media are from a passport that was obtained sometime back before confirmation of the exact date of birth. “In their investigations, the Inspectorate of Government noted as much, and so did Court, before making a ruling on the matter,” added Mr. Luggya.

While previously, the whistleblower has been anonymous, he has since revealed himself as Mr. Pascal Jabbe Osinde, a former employee of UCAA whose services were terminated on account of a Court Order. “Whereas UCAA and the DG are contemplating legal action, the malicious claims should be ignored with the contempt they deserve, and will not distract the DG and the Authority from executing the mandate,” a communication from the authority read.

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