Officials In UWA awarded most gorilla permits

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Kwitonda Group youngsterOfficials investigate operations at the Uganda Wildlife Authority have found out that a member of the board was awarded 6 out of the 8 gorilla permits that are available to tour operators in the travel industry. The judicial commission which constitutes Kenneth Magambe, Nsamba Bukenya, Col. Stephen Kwiringyira and Catherine Muganga are investigating the alleged misappropriation of over 30m US Dollars that the World Bank provided as loan to help in the improvement of protected areas so as to boost tourism in Uganda. The Judicial Commission headed by retired Supreme Court Judge, George Kanyeihamba, heard that Jonathan Wright a member of the board of Uganda Wildlife Authority and owner of the Uganda Safari Company – TUSC was awarded concessions to invest in most of the national parks which was clearly a conflict of interests as he was a member of the board responsible for awarding these concessions. During the hearing Mr. Boniface Byamukama who is the chairman of the Uganda Tour Operators – AUTO, said that the complaints by the tour operators about the unfair way in which Jonathan Wright was being awarded concessions fell on deaf ears. According to Mr. Boniface Byamukama, there have been many cases in which Uganda tour operators would apply and pay for licenses but the Uganda Wildlife Authority would instead issue the licence to someone else. Mr. Boniface, sited out the lack of a proper criteria for awarding concessions and said that the whole process was kept a secret and applicants were deliberately misled in the advertises that were put out. According to the Chairman of the Association of Uganda Tour Operators the Uganda Wildlife Authority owes Uganda tour operators over $300,000 in unpaid commissions as they scrapped it out without explanation.

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