By Nathan Mboowa
Top managers of Uganda Airlines who were suspended on direct orders of President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, had been receiving $10,000 (about shs. 37 million) as a weekly inducement for awarding fuel supply contract to Mixjet- a Dubai based company.
The kickback was disguised as a commission, an independent investigation launched by this website into the operations of National Airline reveals.
The money, according to bank documents this website obtained, would be wired to the officials’ accounts through ABSA Bank Entebbe Branch directly from Dubai firm.
It must be noted that Uganda Airlines has been paying fuel in advance (for a month) to enable the supplier make refilling arrangements on time wherever the aircraft lands on the agreed airport across the world.
For example, Uganda Airlines paid Mixjet fuel for July on June 26.
The prime beneficiaries of this scheme at Uganda Airlines were Kenneth Kiyemba and Cornwell Muleya, our investigation has established.
Mr Kiyemba is Ugandan airline pilot and business executive who was among the the first officers to be recruited by Uganda Airlines and served as commercial pilot until his suspension last May.
Muleya worked as CEO of Uganda Airlines. He is also serving a three months’ suspension pending an investigation commissioned by President Museveni.
Muleya and Kiyemba being the first officials to be recruited and considering the power and seniority they wielded, they are the ones who negotiated the fuel supplying deal between Mixjet and Uganda Airlines,” sources at Entebbe revealed.
The pair was also on Uganda Airlines Task Force that sourced service providers/suppliers.
According to the information obtained through our investigations, the duo had inflated fuel price per route.
We found that Uganda Airlines was being charged higher than other Airlines by over $300 per flight and this money would be returned by the supplier plus the additional amount as a reward, totaling to $10,000 weekly.
Uganda Airlines pays approximately $300, 000 to Mixjet depending on the uplifts every week.
Sources said that the officials in new management have volunteered such information to a team of investigators from State House led by Brenda Wadri.
“The President is well aware of how this syndicate operated,” said an official.
This website has further learned that the crisis at Julius Nyerere Airport in Tanzania in which it was reported that Uganda Airlines plane ran out of fuel and delayed for over 1 and half hours had been engineered by the clique conniving Uganda Airlines station manager in Dar es Salaam.
The delay resulted from the new management’s decision to suspend advance payments to the fuel supplier from which the kickback would be sent to the beneficiaries.
“They decided to embarrass the national carrier because the new management plugged their holes of eating,” a source added.
Whereas the delay lasted for 1 hour and 45 minutes, the detractors exaggerated that the plane was stuck for 8 hours.
The new management is reviewing it’s MoU with Mixjet and considering terminating the contract following the embarrassment.
Equally, other suppliers / service providers had been subjected to offering inducements to other senior managers besides Kiyemba and Muleya.
For example, the senior Manager in charge of Administration Andrew Tumusiime was also receiving “a good package” from airport handler (names withheld).
“He had negotiated something from payments the Airline pays this airport handler and would receive money weekly,” a source said.
President is aware of all these schemes that had been ongoing in the Airline, following the suspension of the top managers, Museveni said the corrupt officials must face consequences.
The three-month suspension ends August 21, and this website understands that the State House report will have finalized the investigation report and ihanded it to the President for further direction.
State House officials linked to the investigations (but wished not be mentioned) said implicated Airline officers could end up in jail for misappropriating public funds.