By Andante Okanya
An accountant sacked by Kampala Capital City Authority is demanding sh177m in compensation, saying her dismissal was premised on baseless allegations.
On May 5, Marissa Ilalu filed a civil suit against KCCA at the civil division of the High Court in Kampala.
“The plaintiff shall contend that her interdiction and subsequent dismissal from duty was unlawful, wrongful and irregular since she was exonerated of any charges,”Ilalu asserts.
Through her lawyer – Bwango Araali & Company Advocates – she wants court to declare that her contract was breached, and that she was unlawfully interdicted.
Court documents show that Ilalu started work as accounts assistant on October 20, 1997 in the now-defunct Kampala City Council (KCC).
Six years later (on October 23, 2003), she was interdicted by KCC on allegations of financial malpractice and put on half salary.
In the interdiction letter signed by the then-Kampala Town Clerk Gordon Mwesigye, he cited fraud and invoked Public Service Commission (PSC) regulation 36(1).
“Recent performance on your official performance has revealed alarming financial malpractices that may result into colossal financial losses to the council,” Mwesigye stated.
Attached to Nakawa division, Ilalu was among a group of five accountants probed for purported embezzlement of sh236.4m.
Subsequently, KCC made a formal complaint to Police, which then commenced investigations through the criminal investigations department (CID).
In 2011, KCCA executive director Jennifer Musisi wrote to Illalu lifting her interdiction on the basis of the CID report.
The former city accountant laments that before Police could conclude its probe, she was sacked before being accorded the opportunity to defend herself.
She contends that before the conclusion of the CID investigations, she was dismissed without being heard or summoned or asked to be heard or even obtaining a reply from her on the charges leveled against her.
Illalu has attached a CID memo addressed to the Director CID dated June 18, 2010, showing that she was never summoned for interrogation.
Court documents also show that on April 8, 2011, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) wrote to CID, stating that he had scrutinized the case papers.
The DPP concluded that the evidence on file was lacking to support a case for her prosecution.
Subsequently on September 19, 2011, KCCA executive director Jennifer Musisi wrote to Illalu lifting her interdiction on the basis of the CID report.
Ilalu says she was shocked when Musisi, two days later, revoked the letter, stating that the dismissal took effect in 2008.
She states that her interdiction for a period of more than eight years was illegal. Ilalu notes that it contravened PSC regulations which prescribe that interdiction cannot exceed six months.
Court has ordered KCCA to file its defence within 15 days from the date of receipt of the summons.
In the order dated May 5, 2014, assistant registrar Eleanor Khainzha has cautioned KCCA to heed, lest judgment is passed without its input.
On Thursday, KCCA deputy head of litigation confirmed to New Vision that the authority had received the summons instructing it to file a defence.
“We have received the summons, and have started drafting out defence. We will file on time, as stated in the summons,” Charles Ouma said.