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PAC – COSASE picks interest in Uganda Airlines procurements

The Uganda Airlines Top Management Team led by the CEO seated to the right of Hon. Ssenyonyi (R) responding to queries

The Uganda Airlines Top Management Team led by the CEO seated to the right of Hon. Ssenyonyi (R) responding to queries

The Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) on Wednesday, 14 September 2022 continued interfacing with management of Uganda Airlines on the red flags raised by the Auditor General in the Financial Year 2020/21.

Chaired by Joel Ssenyonyi, the accountability committee probed Uganda Airlines for flouting procurement procedures to hire a public relations and advertising firm at an ‘inflated’ cost of Shs2 billion in contravention with the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets (PPDA) regulations that calls for an open and competitive bidding process.

According to Hon. Ssenyonyi, in 2019, the airlines irregularly and selectively handpicked three advertising firms without pre-qualification and a competitive bidding process and subsequently, awarded the contract to the firm with the highest quotation.

The shortlisted firms were; Abbavater Group Ltd, Star Leo and WMC Africa.

The contract was awarded to Abbavater Group Ltd at a cost of Shs174.6 million per month yet the other media firms – Star Leo and WMC Africa had quoted lower prices of Shs36.8 million and Shs35.2 million per month respectively.

Hon. Ferigo Kambale (NRM, Kasese Municipality) said it was erroneous for the airline to enter into a contractual agreement with firms without following the requisite procurement procedures.

The Uganda Airlines Chief Executive Officer, Jennifer Bamuturaki, who was then Director – Commercial, said she was not part of the contracts and evaluation committee that decided to hire Abbavater Group Ltd despite records showing that she was a member of the committee.

“There is an evaluation form that was handled by the person who signed [on the contract]. When I read the evaluation form, I cannot understand why the person who signed the contract went for the company [Abbavater] that was evaluated,” Bamuturaki said.

Hon. Ssenyonyi cited conflict of interest from Bamuturaki in the award of contract to Abbavater, saying that airlines CEO has on some occasions signed contracts on behalf of the advertising firm.

The scrutiny of the Auditor Generals report continues on Thursday, 15 September 2022

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