The Public Accounts Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) has rejected a request by Uganda Airlines to bar the media from covering its proceedings.
The national air carrier, through its Manager, Corporate Quality, Michael Kaliisa, also requested the committee, without revealing details, to reschedule their ongoing meetings to the second week of September 2022 as they had preplanned engagements which were of great bearing on the operations of the airline.
The committee chairperson, Hon. Joel Ssenyonyi, held that it was unjust and unreasonable for management of the airline to wait until the meeting to present the letter asking for rescheduling of the meeting.
The governing board of the airline claimed that the continued media coverage of the meetings with the committee were tainting the corporate image of the airline.
In response, Ssenyonyi said that the committee accounts to the public and Uganda Airlines is a public entity which must account to the public. He added: “Therefore, it would be irregular to ask for the dismissal of the media from these meetings.”
Ssenyonyi further noted that the committee is time-bound by its pending assignments and therefore honouring the request would imply that the committee abandons the investigations which is not an option.
The officials have been in meetings with MPs from the committee investigating matters raised in the Auditor General’s report for the financial year ended 2021.
MPs from across the divide were unimpressed with the requests urging that the management of the airline was taking the committee for granted and undermining its work which is to seek for accountability of state enterprises like the airline.
Mawokota South MP, Hon. Yusuf Nsibambi advised that the Chief Executive Officer of the airline, Jenifer Bamuturaki, to return to the committee respectfully and request for a formal adjournment of the meetings.
Hon. Roland Ndyomugyenyi (INDP.; Rukiga County), said the airline cannot escape accountability because it draws from the taxpayers, money which is required for its operations, and the media must attend the hearings for the sake of the public.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Parliament of the Republic of Uganda.