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MUK deputy registrar asks court to block her suspension

By Michael Odeng

Added 12th May 2017 09:15 AM

Margaret Etuusa was suspended over alleged fleecing of money from unsuspecting members of the public

Margaret Etuusa was suspended over alleged fleecing of money from unsuspecting members of the public

Makerere University deputy academic registrar has dragged the institution and the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Dr. Okello Ogwang to court after they decided to suspend her pending investigations into her conduct.

In a suit filed before the civil division of the High Court in Kampala, Margaret Etuusa, says she never handed over office yet the institution's officials are forcing her to finalise the handover by completing the pending tasks.

She filed an application for judicial review through Kalenge, Ssemambo and Company Advocates on Thursday.

Judicial review is the process of challenging the lawfulness of decisions of public authorities, usually local or central government. 

Etuusa therefore wants court to issue an order, restraining the institution and Ogwang from further attempts to force her to handover office while on suspension until the final determination of the main case.

In the main case, Etuusa wants court to compel the Institution to reinstate her in office with full payment and also be awarded costs of the application.

"If this application is not granted, my employment will be terminated thereby affecting my career, which I have developed for the past 24 years in MUK which undermines my hard earned credibility that cannot be atoned by damages," she contends.

Etuusa joined MUK in 1992 as an assistant registrar and has grown through the ranks culminating into her appointment as the deputy registrar of the Certificates, Ceremonies and Publication Division (CCPD) in the Department of the Academic Registrar.

She wants court to issue an order, restraining the institution's disciplinary committee from taking any further disciplinary measures against her.

Etuusa says the respondents unlawfully suspended her from the university without following the due process of the law, adding that she was never given the right to be heard.

"The respondents established an illegal disciplinary committee whose purpose is to terminate my university services," she claims.

Genesis of her troubles

Court documents indicate that on February 28, 2017 the university secretary, Charles Barugahare wrote to the academic registrar requesting to find out whether the company which was hired to offer services of handling phones during the recent graduation was approved and who in particular committed the university in offering the alleged services.   

Prior to that, On March 7, 2017 Etuusa was suspended by the Vice Chancellor over alleged fleecing of money from unsuspecting members of the public and attempting to destroy the institution's image.

It is alleged that parents and students who had carried phones were required to pay between sh3000 and sh5000 for each phone to be kept by the company that was assigned since such gadgets were not allowed at the graduation venue.

According to the university management, Etuusa went against the regulations and laws governing the contract department and allegedly authorized the company that extorted money from parents and students during graduation.

However, Etuusa revealed that the security sub-committee and secretariat identified a service provider that paid sh1m to the academic registrar's account as the practice for the previous graduation ceremony.

MUK public relations officer, Ritah Namisango, confirmed to New Vision the development but did not specify the period Etuusa is supposed to spend on suspension.

Etuusa says to date, the illegal proceedings commenced against her and have exceeded the mandatory 30 days of suspension period as stipulated under the law. She was suspended on half pay.

Namisango revealed that the investigating committee which was instituted to investigate Etuusa completed its work and forwarded its recommendations to the institution's appointment board for further action.

"Etuusa appeared before the investigating committee to defend herself and the report was forwarded to the appointment board, which is yet to give their final decision," Namisango said. 

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