By Max Patrico Ocaido
Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga will this week summon ministry of Finance bosses over unpaid gratuity of former employees of the defunct East African Airways Corporation.
This was after a taskforce coordination committee of East African Airlines ex-employees this morning presented a petition to the Speaker demanding for their gratuity that has accumulated to about Shs39bn since 1977.
While presenting their petition to Speaker Kadaga, the chief petitioner Roscoe Sozi said that their plea has been in vain despite court ordering the government to pay them their gratuity in full.
“In 2006, government paid to us 60% of our entitlements and then refused to pay the balance, which we successfully challenged in the courts of law and orders were made to pay to us all our money,” Sozi said.
“We subsequently followed up the same with an Order of Mandamus and in August last year, a small tranche was released by the Ministry of Finance, through the Ministry of East African Community Affairs, to about 15% of our total number. 85% of our members totaling to about 530 people have not been paid at all,” a part of the petition signed by their chairman Richard Kaggwa reads.
The petition adds, “Even worse, madam Speaker, the ministry of Finance has insisted that before any other former employee of the East African Airways can be paid, those who have already received their payments should return in person to the Ministry of EAC Affairs with their bank statements to confirm that they were paid.”
“Whereas we believe in accountability, these people are so old that they can’t come back here. The people who are here today are the youngest,” Sozi added.
Speaker Kadaga showed concern and promised to summon the ministry of finance to explain why these elderly former employees of EA Airways have not fully got their gratuity.
“I will call Finance minister Hon Kasaija [Finance minister], Keith Muhankanizi [Secretary to the treasury] and Attorney General to my office this week and squeeze them,” Kadaga said.
About East African Airways
East African Airways was an airline jointly run by Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda which started operations in 1946, but was dissolved in 1977 after relations among the three countries deteriorated. The corporation employed about 620 people according to Sozi.