Uganda Wildlife Authority-UWA, torn apart as a result of the ill fated appointment of a friend as chairman last year by the then minister, is now seemingly facing new woes, as the Commission of Enquiry chaired by retired Supreme Court Justice George Kanyeihamba is showing its ‘teeth’.
Armed with powers almost identical to the High Court, the chairman and some members last week went in person to the UWA head offices to demand information and files from staff, only to be commenting later on that they were frustrated once again and could not receive certain files, which according to UWA staff were with the World Bank, the main financier of the PAMSU project and could only be released by them, though the World Bank of course is beyond the Commission’s jurisdiction and enjoys diplomatic status in Uganda which means officials cannot be compelled to testify.
World Bank officials were loath to comment other than to point out that their internal audits of the project had unveiled no irregularities over the years but they would act upon any sound evidence the Commission would find and formally submit to them.
The Commission yesterday accused at least four UWA staff of concealing and hiding evidence and called for their immediate suspension and physical removal from their offices, while also considering added measures in the power of the Commission to compel them to testify truthfully. By morning today it was not known if the suspension had been affected already, and as a refusal or delay could be interpreted as Contempt of an Order issued by the Commission details are expected to become available later on.
Regular sources at UWA are keeping shtumm and refuse to accept calls on office phone lines to discuss such issues while being equally afraid to even make use of their personal mobile phones unless callers could be traced back and they end up in even deeper problems for sharing information and opinions.
Erstwhile star performer UWA, until a board of greedy and powerhungry individuals was appointed last year, has seen a deep fall from the height of their professional standing to a level where even day to day operations are now being affected by decisions being weighed seemingly forever and obviously forgetting a key corporate principle, that while few mistakes are made when NOT making decisions, indecisiveness itself is one of the biggest corporate sins in itself.