By Our reporter
The Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) has trashed reports claiming discrepancies in the age and name of newly appointed Director General Fred Bamwesigye.
According to the authority, this matter has been habitual and its propagators are not wise enough to manufacture new allegations but to instead repeat the same things over and over but expecting different results.
UCAA says it first came to light through a malicious whistle-blower’s letter to various investigative bodies, including the office of the Inspector General of Government sometime back, which have all since fully investigated the matter several times and dropped the allegations as unfounded and baseless.
In April 2021, a recycled anonymous whistleblower report was again sent to the Inspectorate of Government over the same claims, and in a media interview, the then Ag. IGG, noted that the claims were first presented to the IGG in 2017, comprehensively investigated and found to be untrue. The matter was recycled four times and sent to the same office with the same content. Below is the full statement.
CLARIFICATION ON INACCURATE CLAIMS AGAINST UCAA DG
We have noted inaccurate reports claiming discrepancies in the age and name for the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority’s Director General, Mr. Bamwesigye Fred Kanyangoga, and wish to put the record straight as follows;This matter first came to light through a malicious whistle-blower’s letter to various investigative bodies, including the office of the Inspector General of Government, which have all since fully investigated the matter several times and dropped the allegations as unfounded and baseless.
In April 2021, a recycled anonymous whistleblower report was again sent to the Inspectorate of Government over the same claims, and in a media interview, the then Ag. IGG, noted that the claims were first presented to the IGG in 2017, comprehensively investigated and found to be untrue. The matter was recycled four times and sent to the same office with the same content.
The matter has also been to court through civil suit no. 110 of 2021, and the Court resolved the matter through a ruling that exonerated Mr. Bamwesigye on April 9, 2021. He erroneously recorded conflicting dates in his early school days, which was carried on in the first years of employment. However, upon confirmation of the right date of birth, following recovery of authentic documentation, including a baptism card, the right date was formally regularized through a September 2007 Statutory Declaration, and this was long before contemplating that he would in future vie for the position of DG of UCAA.
In 2007, he had not even joined the Authority. The records being discussed on social media are from a passport that was obtained sometime back before confirmation of the exact date of birth (as indicated above). In their investigations, the Inspectorate of Government noted as much, and so did the Court, before making a ruling on the matter.
While previously, the whistleblower has been anonymous, he has since revealed himself as Mr. Pascal Jabbe Osinde, a former employee of UCAA whose services were terminated on account of a Court Order. He has now written to the Committee of Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises, other Committees of Parliament and a host of media houses over the same matter (that has severally been investigated and dropped). Whereas UCAA and the DG are contemplating legal action, the malicious claims should be ignored with the contempt they deserve, and will not distract the DG and the Authority from executing the mandate.
WHY MAFIA IS TARGETING BAMWESIGYE
Bamwesigye previously served as UCAA’s Director Human Resource and Administration. He was later elevated to Deputy Director General. In 2020 he became the acting Director General following the retirement of Prof David Kakuba to date. He joined the authority in 2009 and rose through the ranks to where he is today. Multiple sources Daily Pepper talked to give various reasons why the Mafia targeting UCAA have not been comfortable seeing Bamwesigye at the helm. Having joined the Authority in 2009, Bamwesigye has amassed all the experience one would require to manage Aviation affairs. And this means he is the kind of a person who would not tolerate mediocrity and incompetence when it comes to execution of given tasks unlike inexperienced ones who will just blink an eye for a junior since they too wouldn’t be knowing too much. More so, given all the risks associated with aviation safety, he is the kind of a person who won’t be easily intimidated by Tom and Dick claiming orders from above (because of some of the decisions he makes. A story is told of how he one time stopped an Ethiopian Airlines passenger plane from taking off because the technical report was inconclusive on its airworthiness. In another incident, Bamwesigye also had issues with Kenyans; and entrepreneur and philanthropist Aga Khan IV had to intervene by reaching out to President Museveni directly. Museveni inquired from Bamwesigye and after the former listening to the latter carefully, he concluded that indeed Bamwesigye was just simply doing his job whose proficiency and strictness had rattled those who felt connected. That is how thick skinned Bamwesigye is sometimes and this makes the Mafia feel uncomfortable with him around.
We have also learnt that the Mafia targeting UCAA land felt Bamwesigye was an insect that should have crashed there and then. UCAA has a lot of land scattered across the country which has been a target of the Mafia for grabbing but Bamwesigye being a principled person who also follows procedures, the former have been finding it difficult to divide it among themselves. They knew that to become a substantive DG, they would have to wait until the end of his tenure. In Entebbe alone, UCAA has about 800 acres but it has been encroached on by different stakeholders both individuals and some government entities. It is a shame [sic] that UCAA had to first beg for its own land when it embarked on the airport expansion works project. UCAA also manages 14 airfields/airstrips across the country and its land there has been under threat by the Mafia. Whereas Bamwesigye, according to those close to him, feels this land should be protected for future aviation projects, the Mafia have a different plan and seeing him at the helm is a huge blow to them.
The Mafia always targets where there is money. This newspaper understands that they have always tried to create a patronage and corrupt system at UCAA that they exploit for their self-enrichment through constant manipulation of systems, processes, policies and activities. Conflict of interest, insider trade, control of procurement process to dictate who takes which bid is their end game. It is this same Mafia that always receives gratifications from almost all service providers and contractors. In case there are queries about any anomaly the answer is always “this is for a big man so and so in the government.” However, Bamwesigye seems not to be toeing to their side and they had to try to block him from ascending to the top given what they have already gone through in regard to the current projects(ongoing and finished) at Entebbe airport. These include the upgrade and expansion works for Entebbe International Airport project which involved works at the departure, and arrival terminals, fuel farm, runways, Cargo centre and taxiways. Others include a modernized VIP Lounge and Open Lounge. Other improvements include computerized- centralized checking and security system, resealing two runaways among others. A lot of money is involved and some Mafia-linked firms which were left out were not happy and somehow Bamwesigye was pointed out as the stumbling block.