Two officials from the Inspectorate of Government (IGG)’s office have told court that former Uganda Airlines’ boss Cornwell Muleya defied summons to answer to corruption-related charges.
The officials told Buganda Road Court that Zambian national Cornwell Muleya was summoned to appear before the IGG’s office, but he neither responded nor provided an explanation.
The first prosecution witness Mr Gideon Abudum, the supervisor in charge of Special Investigations at the IGG’s office, said he was in April tasked to carry out investigations of corruption at the airlines where they interacted with a number of employees from the airlines, including those that left the organisation.
Mr Muleya was required to respond to the alleged mismanagement of public funds, procurement and irregular recruitment of staff.
After they failed to get in touch with Mr Muleya, and upon the advice of the IGG’s legal team, summons were issued through his personal email.
“We instead received a letter from his (Muleya) lawyers of Muwema & Co Advocates who raised their concerns specifically questioning the manner in which their client was summoned and why he was told to report with his passport,” Mr Abudum said.
Court heard that the deputy IGG, Patricia Achan Okiriria, responded to the letter clarifying that his passport was required for his identification.
Court also heard that the IGG’s office held a meeting with Mr Muleya’s lawyers who indicated that he was out of the country.
A resolution was made that the lawyer would represent him, which did not happen.
The second prosecution witness that caused the arrest of Muleya, Ms Loreen Akello, told court that he was arrested from Entebbe following a tip-off from some whistleblowers that he was in the country.
Ms Akello trailed Mr Muleya through phone calls which confirmed his presence.
“I first called him using my workmate’s telephone reminding him of his summons, then later I sent him a WhatsApp message asking him to confirm if that was his number and he responded that indeed it was his,” Ms Akello said.
Mr Muleya, who is on bail, was appearing before Grade One Magistrate Asuman Muhumuza for the hearing of the case.
Prosecution led by Mr Rogers Kinobe allege that between May and June, Mr Muleya willfully and without reasonable justification or excuse refused to comply with the May 23 order of the IGG requiring his attendance to give evidence and produce documents regarding mismanagement of public funds, procurements and recruitment of staff at the Uganda Airlines.