KAMPALA – Legislators in the 10th Parliament were taken aback when the minister of Works and Transport, Ms. Monicah Azuba announced that the Ugandan government had gained total ownership of the Uganda National Airlines Company Limited after a report exposed that tax-payers were going to inject UGX280b to buy aircraft for private individuals.
It should be recalled that the debate and approval of the supplementary funding to the purchase of two Bombardier jets for Uganda airlines hit a snug after two MPs, Joy Atim (Lira Woman) and Winfred Kiiza (Kasese Woman) tasked government to first table proof regarding the identity of the person owning the business after discovering that Uganda National Airlines Company Limited has two million shares worth UGX200m but government only owns two shares allocated to the ministries of Works and as well as that of Finance with calls to know who owns the rest of the shares.
In their minority report, the duo reported that the share capital of Uganda National Airlines Company Limited is UGX200 million divided into 2 million shares of UGXl00 and of the 2 million shares, only 2 shares worth UGX200 to the minister of Works and Transport as well as Ministry of Finance.
The revelation caused a stir in Parliament that prompted the Deputy Speaker, Jacob Oulanyah to ask the Works minister to clarify on the matter. Ms. Azuba informed Parliament that as per today, Wednesday, March 27, all the shares had been allotted back to government, a revelation that sent shock-waves within the August House.
During Wednesday, March 27 debate, Mr. Jonathan Odur (Erute South) said that although Ugandans had welcomed the revival of their national airline, there seems to be conspiracy to revive Uganda airlines. You can see fraud or conspiracy to commit fraud by the information the Minister has stated. We don’t have money to procure six aircraft and hand them over to somebody.”
Mr. Patrick Nsamba said that as Ugandans were very proud and excited about the revival of their national airline and despite this excitement, it is incumbent upon parliament that the revival is done in an organized way to benefit Ugandans.
He urged government to pick a leaf from Rwanda that owns 99% shares in Rwanda Air, Ethiopian 100% saying it would be desirable for Uganda to own 99% shares.
Mr. James Waluswaka tasked Ms. Azuba to reveal the person who tried to defraud government arguing: “Who is that person who made the earlier mistake and what administrative sanctions have been put to somebody who made the bad administrative error?”
Arua Municipality MP Kasiano Wadri said an attempt to revive national airline has been tainted with confusion and contested the document tabled by Ms. Azuba saying information from the Uganda Registration Service Bureau indicated that Uganda only has two shares and challenged the minister to table the document she had talked to allow Parliament scrutinise its authenticity arguing: “The taxpayers are being used to procure planes which they don’t have ownership. We are forking out money that Ugandans don’t have shares to.”
The Deputy Speaker concurred with the MPs and asked the Budget Committee to interrogate the documents tabled before Parliament takes final decision on the matter.