Travel company sues Ugandan gov’t over unpaid air tickets


Kampala, Uganda | URN | Speedwing Travel Centre Limited has sued the Government of Uganda for alleged failure to pay more than US$ 56,000 dollars (about Shillings 207.3 million) for the air tickets issued to her officials on credit.

In its suit before the High Court Civil Division, Speedwing Travel Centre Limited contends it issued the air tickets in question to Foreign Affairs officials between 2014 and 2017.

According to the ledger, the beneficiaries of the air tickets include Foreign Affairs Ministers Sam Kutesa, Henry Okello Oryem, five Ambassadors and ten other officials. The ambassadors are Nathan Ndoboli, Emmanuel Hatega, David Etuket, Charles Ssentongo and the late Najuna Njuneki.

The other officials are James Galiwango, Joseph Barigye, Steven Nkayivu Ssenabulya, Slyvia Kasoga, Nurh Byarufu, Abraham Peter Lokii, Julius Malinga, Juliet Okunia, Dennis Tumukunde and Richard Kabonero. 

The company contends that between 2014 and 2017, they issued various air tickets to the foreign ministry officials on credit for travel abroad.

They also contend that some of the money was spent on paying fines on flight cancellation by the officials. According to the breakdown of the invoices, government secured air tickets worth USD 18,186 (about Shillings 67.3 million) on credit in the 2014 to 2015 financial year.

It also secured tickets worth 20,190 dollars (Shillings 74.7 million) in the 2015/ 2016 financial year and USD 17, 647 (Shillings 65.3 million) in the next financial year. In its document before court, the company notes that they have made several reminders to the Foreign Affairs Ministry to clear the debt in vain.

Speedwing Travel Centre Limited says that it has been inconvenienced by the actions of the Ministry and suffered financial loss which has affected their daily operations. The company wants court to direct government to pay the outstanding balance with interest until the full payment is made.

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Through their lawyers of Orima and Company Advocates, the company wants government to pay general damages for the inconveniences caused to them. Government is yet to summon the Attorney General to file his defence to the suit.

The suit comes after President Yoweri Museveni directed the Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda in 2018 to put in place stringent measures on government officials intending to travel abroad after reports indicated that huge sums of money are spent on foreign travels.

In June 2020, the Finance Ministry issued a circular reducing the budget of foreign travels by 50 percent, a move they said would save government about Shillings 200 billion.