Hunter becomes hunted as former UWA commission of enquiry now under financial scrutiny


In a twist of events is information emerging from the Ministry of Tourism that the Commission of Enquiry into the Uganda Wildlife Authority, which dominated headlines for a while in 2010/11, is now itself coming under scrutiny for the apparent failure to account for funds given to them to carry out their work.

The commission was put into place by the notorious self styled Minister of Crocodiles, aka Minister for Tourism Kahinda Otafire, after he installed his personal friend and physician as chairman of UWA who then ran riot with demands for massive increases in remuneration and locked horns with the then management trying to protect the organization from being turned into a personal cash cow. Chaired by former Supreme Court Justice George Kanyeihamba, who is now increasingly seen as a maverick eccentric, the commission itself came under sustained fire over allegations of witness intimidation, appropriating itself powers it did not have, vindictive witch hunts and in the end widely dissenting views by members over their report, which the then minister Prof. Kamuntu – himself at the receiving end of Kanyeihamba’s foaming wrath – rejected.

Ministry sources now claim that their auditors have failed to establish accountability for much of the over 280 million Uganda Shillings advanced to the commission, much of it paid in form of allowances, fund for upcountry trips not undertaken and other budget items. The lack of field visits in particular further tore into the substance of the already soiled report, as many of the conclusions now appear purely based on often hotly contested testimonies but not inspection of the locations in question, leaving many now wondering what kangaroo court Kanyeihamba conducted, which left the reputation of many senior stakeholders dented at the time. Notable was the initial budget for a probe committee, later turned into a commission of enquiry, only just over 70 million, but eventually quadrupled on insistence of Kanyeihamba, without however producing tangible results leading to any prosecutions, while the time frame too was at least twice extended to complete the task before tourism minister Prof. Kamuntu shut the door on the commission by rejecting any further requests for time extensions. This fact however was seemingly ignored by Kanyeihamba who outlived his mandate by several more weeks before literally being locked out of his offices at the time. Hunter turned hunted it seems and how the once high and mighty fall.

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