Parliament’s committee on commissions, statutory authorities and state enterprises (Cosase) has said that Jennifer Bamuturaki does not have the requisite qualifications to be appointed chief executive officer of the Uganda National Airlines Company.
Bamuturaki had been tasked to present her curriculum vitae (CV) to the committee led by Nakawa West MP Joel Ssenyonyi for scrutiny to ascertain if she met the standards before being appointed by President Yoweri Museveni on July 8.
The job, according to a description that accompanied the call for applications, required an ideal candidate to hold a bachelor’s degree in any field, post-graduate training in administration or any other business-related course, and at least 10 years of aviation experience at senior management level.
The ideal candidate was also required to have experience in marketing and commercial aspects of the airline business, including knowledge of airline commercial systems, experience in marketing an airline business, knowledge of airline commercial systems, and previous or current experience as CEO or chief operations officer of a successful commercial airline, scheduling and planning of commercial and charter flights among others.
But Bamuturaki holds a bachelor of Arts (honours) in social works and social administration (Swasa) which she obtained from Makerere University in 1993, and does not have any postgraduate training. She has however since enrolled for a diploma in strategic management and leadership and a master of business administration at the Graduate College of London.
Ssenyonyi said her working experience is also below the minimum requirements. It includes 12 years of experience in the hotel and hospitality industry where she worked as a guest relations officer and sales manager before joining East African Airlines and Air Uganda which have all since collapsed.
"Concerns that would arise is that at the time of the CEO's appointment, she did not have the required academic qualifications because it had to be a degree and a post-graduate diploma. In terms of years of experience and so on, that one is covered. Now post-graduate training is not just a post-graduate diploma," said Ssenyonyi.
The committee tasked the acting human resource officer Jane Nanono to explain why they considered a person who lacked the prerequisites for the job. According to Buzaaya County MP Martin Mugabi Muzaale, the airline's human resources department erred when it chose to zero on a candidate whose services had been terminated at the defunct Air Uganda for non-performance.
But Nanono declined to divulge details referring to her superior who was not in attendance. Nanono hinted that Uganda Airlines at the time contracted PriceWaterHouseCoopers, the private firm that developed the job specifications of the CEO and zeroed on experience in the aviation industry which was forwarded to the board of directors for approval.
"Someone is supposed to have a postgraduate diploma but it is open. One thing you learn within the aviation industry is that degrees are open but what matters is the experience that someone carries. The qualifications are; honours bachelor's degree in any field, post-graduate training in administration or any other business-related course," she said.
Addressing journalists after the Cosase meeting, Bamuturaki said "it doesn't matter whether I went to the moon or whether I did MDD [music, dance and drama], what matters is do I have the skill? And I do. I can't blame myself for being appointed."
Cosase is investigating the airlines following irregularities that John Muwanga, the Auditor General raised in his report for the Financial Year 2020/2021. The queries include lack of job grades, strategic plan, poor management of contract files, and failure to seek approval from the National Information Technology Authority – NITA Uganda for procurement of IT software among others.