UGANDA (eTN) – After four months of waiting, the Ministry of Tourism has finally received the Kanyeihamba report, giving the findings of the commission of enquiry, which has over the past year significantly impacted on the running of the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and affected other related bodies, too.
The Minister for Tourism, Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu, himself inexplicably accused of a variety of “offenses” by Kanyihamba, however, promptly informed the media yesterday that no action would be taken on the report until all legal challenges were dispensed with in court. A number of individuals have taken issue with the report’s contents and gone to court to have either sections of the report or the entire report squashed. At the same time, the minister also said that anyone found to have misused or misappropriated funds under the PAMSU project, financed by the World Bank, would be dealt with in accordance with the law.
Notably, World Bank internal audits have not fingered any shortfalls in project implementation performance nor pointed at any stage to funds being misdirected or misused, as Kanyeihamba’s report now alleges.
It was also learned that the report would be tabled at the next cabinet meeting. Kanyeihamba had published his report on November 2 last year, but in a twist of events it was only formally submitted to the Minister of Tourism two days ago, something Prof. Kamuntu also termed as “breach of terms and conditions” by the commission’s chairman. The minister also went on record in admitting, what has long been an open secret, that the entire affair has been damaging to the country’s wildlife sector, made it impossible to appoint a new board of directors for UWA and had also had negative fallout for Uganda’s tourism industry.
After Lonely Planet had crowned Uganda as their top destination for 2012, it is hoped that as soon as this sordid saga is finally put to rest that the country can get on promoting the unique attractions of “The Pearl of Africa” abroad and reap the benefits by a significant increase in tourist arrivals during the current year and beyond.