Just a few days after the brutal sacking RwandAir boss John Mirenge details have started emerging as to why cabinet resolved to terminate his services on April 6..
The former CEO of Crystals Ventures which is the investment Unit of the ruling party RPF has been at the helm of the Airline since October 2010 and he has been credited for the expansion of the airline including the latest acquiring of two triple class wide-bodied Airbus A330 planes that are deployed on intercontinental routes.
However with these praises and his hard work one will wonder why he could have been dropped and replaced with a Senior Army officer Col Chance Ndagano .
Though there were no immediate reasons for the removal of the airline’s top executives, but reliable sources indicate that mismanagement of resources and failure to contain financial leaks could be behind the sacking. During our investigation this website found out that it’s not the first time government has been put such investment under the leadership of the Army but rather very many have been put under the super vision senior officers including Sports associations to make them effective.
Further investigations indicated that an internal probe unearthed missing funds up to the tune of $2 million which is said to have angered President Paul Kagame as he is well known for having a strong stand against corruption.
In January 2015, local media reported that employees in the ticketing department had defrauded the airline of millions of francs, leading to heavy losses. Some of the suspects allegedly fled the country while others were arrested.
Mirenge admitted that some individuals were involved in defrauding the airline but said that the stolen amount was less than the $700,000 reported, putting it at $30,000.
It was also reported that the Airline has been incurring heavy losses resulting from fines linked to fake entry visas carried by Nigerians travelling to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and under the international aviation rules guiding the Global Distribution System, the fines are paid by the airline which carried the individual and the airlines are forced to pay a penalty of $30,000 .
According to the Nigerian media that first published the story RwandaAir was made to Pay fines to a tune of 20million dollars in less than six months.
A one Henry Aaron who was A sales Executive for RwandaAir at the time explained that there are some “smart guys” in Dubai processing working visas for wiling Nigerians. At the point of booking, the visas are genuine, but would have been cancelled from the system and become fake before the passenger reached Dubai airport.
“It is a smart move. Once it is cancelled, the person has no way of entering. As an airline that has carried the passenger on a one-way ticket, for every case like that, we are charged $30,000 for each passenger. I also have to fly the person back to Nigeria for free. That is the problem,” Henry was quoted .However the Airline bosses in Kigali came out and dismissed the allegations as baseless.
Though RwandAir had expected to start making profits by 2018 but the target only to been revised following the addition of two new $250 million Airbuses last year
Earlier in 2016 RwandAir, the national flag carrier of Rwanda, selected Ethiopian Airlines as its future strategic partner. It is even said that both airlines have technical and commercial cooperation agreements.
To bring an update to this partnership, one of the RwandAir officials told a local journalist that “Both airlines are still discussing the details of the partnership and they will update the media and public once this stage has been concluded. Quoting unnamed sources in the carrier’s management, Ethiopia’s Reporter newspaper said Ethiopian Airlines sent a delegation to Kigali to sound out RwandAir and Rwandan government officials about a possible tie-up in July last year.
The Reporter further revealed that the joint team was looking at the possibility that Ethiopian Air will invest in RwandAir and have a 49 stake on the airline and that It would be represented in the board and management and continue providing technical services. However un confirmed reports indicated failer of this pattern ship could have triggered the sacking of Mirenge as President Kagame, who is personally keen on the growth of the airline, is known for not tolerating mismanagement wasn’t happy with this.