Parliamentary police on Thursday detained Uganda National Airlines Company Ltd CEO Jenifer Bamuturaki over alleged corruption and inconsistencies in her submissions before the public accounts committee on commissions, statutory authorities and state enterprises (Cosase).
Bamuturaki was detained alongside Ephraim Kalyebara Bagenda, the director of engineering and maintenance on the orders Cosase chairperson Joel Ssenyonyi. Bamuturaki, then commercial director who also doubled as the contracts manager and working under Bagenda as the acting CEO of Uganda Airlines allegedly hired Abbavater Group Limited, an advertising firm to brand and market the newly revived national airline in and outside Uganda at a cost of $540,000 (about Shs 2.067 billion) without opening the process to a competitive bidding process, thus flouting PPDA procedures.
Ssenyonyi tasked the two to explain their role in the deal, but both Bamuturaki and Bagenda said they could not remember, and referred the committee to the procurement department of the airline which was not present at the time of the meeting for responses.
While Bamuturaki also denied any 'legal links' to Abbavater, she appended her signature on the copy of the agreement signed on September 6, 2019, as a witness to the deal which conflicted with her position as senior staff of the airlines.
It was later discovered that Bamuturaki was part of the Abbavater Group, and went ahead to influence the process of contracting the company without declaring her conflict of interest which raised queries about transparency in the award of the contract.
The MPs established that Abbavater was first hired by Uganda Airlines to undertake a basic topography survey to produce typographs, a hydrogeological survey to cite potential underground water sources and later to manage public relations.
The MPs further established that Bamuturaki and Bagenda conspired to handpick Abbavater and blocked the process of competitive bidding thus flouting procedures of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act of 2003.
Bamuturaki and Bagenda, alongside other top officials of the airlines, were for the third day appearing before Cosase to answer the queries relating to the Auditor General’s report of FY 2020/2021 implicating the management of lack of staff structure, varying salary employee grades, illegal procurement and poor contract files management among others.
When asked for her academic documents, Bamuturaki said she has never picked up her Social Works and Social Administration (Swasa) transcript from Makerere University, 28 years later. She also failed to produce her O'level certificate, saying she misplaced it several years ago even though on Wednesday she'd said she would produce it on Thursday.
Asked how she has been able to get all the jobs in the hospitality and aviation industry without original academic documents, Bamuturaki said that she has been lucky to be head hunted at most of her job positions. She has previously worked at Sheraton hotel, East African Airlines, and Air Uganda in various positions.
Another controversy emerged on Bamuturaki's purported change of names in a March 2019 deed poll filed and stamped by the Uganda Registration Services Bureau to Jenifer Arnold Lenkai. She however told the MPs that she didn't conclude the process of changing names, as she changed her minds along the way and still remains Jenifer Bamuturaki Musiime with Musiime being her marital name while Bamuturaki is her father's name.