By Ronald Musoke
Andrew Seguya, the executive director of the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has been suspended by Maria Mutagamba, the Minister of Wildlife, Tourism and Antiquities to pave way for a smooth investigation into the missing ivory.
The letter dated Nov.21 and titled, “Alleged Ivory Scam,” is addressed to the UWA board chairman and copied to the Prime Minister, the commander of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces, the tourism ministry’s permanent secretary, Andrew Seguya and Raymond Engena, the director of tourism and business services at UWA.
Engena has been asked to take charge of the agency while Seguya takes the forced leave.
Although news about Seguya’s suspension by UWA’s board of trustees broke on Nov.19, Seguya denied and scoffed at reports of his suspension. Already five of his junior staff had been suspended by the board.
However, on his return from a recent Parks conference in Australia, Seguya said it was wrong for investigations to target him when he was the person who ordered the stock taking exercise at the agency.
“There are six people in between the executive director’s office and the strong room where ivory is kept. How is it possible that when ivory goes missing, it is the UWA executive director who is liable?” Seguya told The Independent in a brief interview at the UWA headquarters on Nov. 24.
“To hijack the matter and call for the disbandment of management and UWA as an institution is absurd,” he said.
“Even if the investigation establishes that ivory has been lost from the store through corrupt tendencies of UWA staff, this is not justification to condemn the whole institution and its management.”
“The Executive Director is certainly not the ivory storekeeper and the question should be whether they are taking action, not why they are not stepping down.”
Below is Mutagamba’s letter suspending Dr. Andrew Seguya