The former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Uganda Airlines, Cornwell Muleya, has claimed that he was fought out of the airline over claims that he was corrupt, yet he was focused and determined to see the airline grow.
While appearing before the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities, and State Enterprise (COSASE) chaired by Hon. Joel Ssenyony on Wednesday, Muleya said that he was first appointed as a consultant by the Prime Minister.
“When I came in, there was nothing like Uganda Airlines here. There was no plan, no desk, or papers. Nothing! I had to build the plan and negotiate, and this is not a small task. I was going into meetings reading documents of 300 pages on airline purchases on my own,” Muleya revealed.
Muleya said that as a consultant, he was earning Shs70 million per month, and upon his appointment as acting CEO, his salary increased to Shs118 million and then to Shs126 million when he was confirmed in the position.
Muleya, who was replaced by Jenifer Bamuturaki in 2021, claimed that his non-tolerance for corruption could have cost him the job.
He accused his successor of over-invoicing the airline when she was serving as the Commercial Director.
“She (Bamuturaki) had over invoiced the airline by up to $232,000 (about Shs878m) to pay Abbavater Group for PR and advertising services,” he said.
On why the national carrier is making losses, Muleya said that the airline lacks the structure and systems to support its entire growth strategy.
“Without critical mass, the airline will not break even, because you remain too small for the investment you have made. The business plan has to be implemented in its entirety for it to bring the payback,” he said.
He said the Airbus A330, for instance, is currently flying 33 hours a month to only one destination, and yet it is meant to fly at least 10, 12, or 15 hours a day and the routes need to be opened to create the feed in the business plan.