Deputy Speaker of Parliament Hon Jacob Oulanyah has added his voice to that of angry members of Parliament, who this week were stunned by what’s being deemed as gross incompetence on the part of Government officials handling the revival of the defunct national career, Uganda Airlines.
Parliament in the last few days has seen false information being tabled, retractions well as sworn apologies from the heads of the Ministries of Works and Transport and Finance.
With piling suspicions surrounding the registration and ownership of the national career, some members of parliament have since called for stern action against the ministry officials.
And this morning, the MPs were joined by Deputy Speaker Oulanyah, who observed that some of these officials didn’t deserve to hold such offices
On Tuesday, Parliament heard from the Parliamentary Budget Committee, that Government of Uganda owned only 2 out of 2million shares in the revamped national airline.
Of the Shs 200million capital stock, the committee found that government through the Ministries of Finance and Works owned shares worth only Shs 200, which is about 0.0001%.
With the shocking news being picked up fast by the media, Minister of Works and Transport Hon Eng Monica Azuba rushed to parliament the following day to clarify that this was a mistake, and that both ministries indeed owned the all the shares in the airline – half for each ministry.
The minister proceeded to table on the floor documents to prove that the airline was fully owned by government and not private individual as rumours had started to crop up.
The documents included the Certificate of Incorporation from the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB), Memorandum and articles of association, a Special Resolution of Uganda Airlines and Return of Allotment of the company shares.
The documents indicated that the airline company was owned by Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development and Ministry of Works and Transport, both of which had 1million shares each.
The minister didn’t dismiss the report of the committee but termed its findings as a “mistake” which has been “corrected as of today (Wednesday).”
Deputy Speaker Oulanyah then tasked the Budget Committee to scrutinize the minister’s document’s and report back to the house.
Yesterday, Minister Azuba as well as Finance Minister Hon Matia Kasaija appeared before the Budget Committee where it emerged that her documents had significant gaps therein.
For one, the committee heard that while Azuba’s Wednesday documents showed that the airline was owned by the Ministry of Works and Finance, the airline shareholders were in fact registered by URSB in the names of Monica Ntege Azuba and Matia Kasaija.
Hon Azuba under oath proceeded to apologize to the committee and withdrew the Wednesday documents regarding the airline’s registration.
“The registration process had gaps and I regret on behalf of myself, ministry and government. I beg to withdraw those documents,” she said.
On his, his part, Minister Kasaija admitted the mistake saying that his colleague’s documents were “not neat” and needed to be corrected.
Reacting to this mess this morning during a special plenary session, Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah said if he had the authority he would have fired some of the officials.
“Let us admit that there have been gross errors,” Oulanyah said.
“From the speaker’s chair, you wonder if there is a government and there are people thinking ahead. We wouldn’t be in this situation.”
He added, “It is unfortunate that am not the president, I would have sacked a few people.”
The speaker however, called on the MPs to pass the supplementary budget to fund the purchase of the Uganda Airlines new aircraft, short of which, he said, Uganda stood losing the money that has already been invested in the revival of the airline.
Speaking during the house plenary, the Budget Committee chairman Hon Hon Amos Lugoloobi revealed that his committee had accepted the withdrawal of Minister Azuba’s initial documents.
“Under oath, the Ministers who are the shareholders apologized to the Committee that they didn’t provide effective oversight and leadership,” he said.
He added that upon the instruction of the Committee, the Minister subsequently tabled before the Committee a new a Special Resolution of the company and return of allotment of shares “compatible with the requirements of Parliament.”
The Committee also recommended swift appointment of a substantive and competent board not later than 30 April 2019.
“The board members must be subjected to a fit and proper test and names presented before the House,” Lugolobi said.