By DailyNewsUG Business Correspondent
Lawmakers probing Uganda Airlines’ Ush498 billion ($130 million) loss in the three years since its launch have ordered its management to produce the list of people who travelled to Dubai in November last year using 200 voided air tickets.
A voided ticket is a cancelled voucher. Once realised, the airline is supposed to stop its purchase.
The national carrier’s executives faced the Committee on Commissions Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase) to respond to queries raised in the Auditor General’s report for the 2020/2021 financial year, including the loss suffered.
While admitting that the irregularity happened, which is noted in its preliminary internal report, the airline’s director of finance, Paul Turacayisenga, blamed system glitches and lack of automation.
“In our situation, we still had some glitches because we hadn’t yet automated that system, and there would be a gap that required people to manually close,” he said, adding: “I think some of the passengers knew that window, so they would take advantage [of it].”
Cosase chair Joel Ssenyonyi said they had been alerted that airline staff were colluding with passengers for free travel to foreign destinations, especially Dubai.
“But clearly, they were not doing it on their own; they were doing it with your staff. Otherwise, an individual cannot do it on their own,” Mr Ssenyonyi told the executives.
“I am going to give you a chance to bring all those documents tomorrow [Thursday] because you carried out the [preliminary] investigations. We shall compare and contrast with what I have,” he said.