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Court asked to reprimand Mitala over Kagole-Kivumbi suspension

By Farooq Kasule

Added 17th September 2020 09:02 PM

On July 26, last year, Mitala sent Kagole-Kivumbi on forced leave over sh34b mischarge claims. He was replaced by Pius Bigirimana.

Court asked to reprimand Mitala over Kagole-Kivumbi suspension

Expedito Kagole- Kivumbi

On July 26, last year, Mitala sent Kagole-Kivumbi on forced leave over sh34b mischarge claims. He was replaced by Pius Bigirimana.

COURT

Lawyer Paul Mukiibi has asked court to reprimand Public Service head and secretary to cabinet John Mitala for sending Judiciary's Expedito Kagole- Kivumbi on forced leave on July 26, last year.

In his written submissions filed in court, dated September 8, 2020, Mukiibi says Mitala reportedly failed to advise the appointing authority on the legal effect of sending Kagole- Kivumbi on forced leave, which decision the lawyer says is not rooted in the law.

Mukiibi contends that Mitala's core functions include advising the President under Article 173 of the Constitution and Section 8 of the Public Service Act, 2018 and that he ought to have advised the President on the same.

"The procedure used by Mitala to send Kagole-Kivumbi on forced leave was not only improper but also irrational and we pray that the court resolves the same in affirmative,"

Mukiibi says. On August 24, 2020, High Court Judge Musa Ssekaana ordered Mukiibi and Attorney General (AG) William Byaruhanga to file written submissions to assist court in the delivery of its verdict in the matter.

In regard to Mitala's argument that he sent Kagole-Kivumbi on forced leave on the orders of President Yoweri Museveni, Mukiibi contends that he ought to have implemented the same in accordance with the law.

Mukiibi says Mitala ought to have waited for Kagole-Kivumbi to be charged in court or act on the request from the Inspectorate of Government (IG), which was investigating him.

On July 26, last year, Mitala sent Kagole-Kivumbi on forced leave over sh34b mischarge claims. He was replaced by Pius Bigirimana.

It followed a report on the Judiciary financial statement by Auditor General John Muwanga dated June 30, 2019.

The report indicated that the sh34b incurred on various items without appropriately applying the Government of Uganda Chart Accounts as prescribed by the Accountant General.

The challenge

Mukiibi, however, challenged the decision in court, arguing that the concept of forced leave is not one of the types of leave provided for in the Employment Act, 2006 and the Uganda Public Service Standing Orders, hence illegal.

He wants a declaratory order that Mitala's sending of Kagole-Kivumbi on forced leave is illegal.

Mukiibi also wants Muwanga's report on the verification of the responses from the Judiciary's accounting officer on the purported unexplained mischarge of sh34b quashed over purported impropriety and falsehoods.

He argues that payment of full benefits to Kagole-Kivumbi and Bigirimana under one vote is innocence of each and every allegation levelled against Kagole-Kivumbi.

Mukiibi contends that sending Kagole-Kivumbi on indefinite forced leave poses a threat to the security and performance of the public service and service delivery which in the long run negatively impacts on the future of the public service enrolment.

"It is in interest of justice that this court allows this application with costs," Mukiibi submits.

In regard to Mitala's claims that Kagole-Kivumbi's suspension was an administrative mechanism, the lawyer argues that it is supposed to be exercised within the confines of thelaw.

Mukiibi also argues that Mitala's seeking of advice from the Inspectorate ofGovernment is a cover-up since it had no input when he sent Kagole- Kivumbi on forced leave.

Mitala, however, insists that the law allows the temporary removal of a public officer from exercising his or her duties to pave the way for investigations in regard to misconduct.

He claims that Kagole-Kivumbi's removal from office is an administrative mechanism with the discretion of the President.

In a letter dated July 2, 2020, the Inspectorate of Government distanced itself from Kagole-Kivumbi's forced leave, but confirmed his being probed in regard to sh34b scam.

The matter resumes on October 26 when the parties are scheduled to highlight their submissions before court gives its verdict.

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