“The tribunal found out that by failure to disclose the particular policy or policies and relevant provisions or sections that were breached the appellant was denied an opportunity to adequately prepare his defence thus violating the appellants right to fair hearing, which is a principle of natural justice, “the ruling reads in part.
MUASA Boss, Dr Deus Kamunyu Muhwezi during inside URN studios.
university staff tribunal has declared the suspension of Dr. Deus Kamunyu
Muhwezi illegal, saying he was convicted on ‘vague and Ambiguous’ charges.
Makerere University management sent Dr. Kamunyu, the Makerere University
Academic Staff Chairperson to the Appointments Board to answer for his
participation in an illegal strike, using an abusive language, committing acts
or omissions that are prejudicial to the proper performance of duties or the
university’s image and slander.
Board acquitted him of all the charges with the exception of non-adherence to
university policies and sent him on six months’ suspension with half pay. However, the
university management said the punishment wanted Dr. Kamunyu dismissed from
the university altogether.
Dr. Kamunyu rejected the board's ruling and
petitioned the university staff tribunal chaired by retired Justice Patrick
Tabaro through his lawyers of Byarugaba & Co. Advocates.
petition, Dr. Kamunyu accused the Appointments Board of denying him a fair
hearing as the laws and policies, which he allegedly contravened, were never
disclosed to him.
He also argued that the board erred both in law and fact by relying on
upon prosecution evidence that supported the alleged offence, which he was never
charged within the first place thereby arriving at a wrong decision.
Kamunyu’s appeal was never cause listed by the tribunal because of the numerous
cases yet it only had 45 days to conclude the cases.
As a result, Dr. Kamunyu
served the full suspension period. Now in his
ruling delivered on October 14, Justice Patrick Tabaro set aside the decision
of the appointments board, saying the charges for which, Dr. Kamunyu was punished,
were ambiguous and vague.
tribunal found out that by failure to disclose the particular policy or
policies and relevant provisions or sections that were breached the appellant
was denied an opportunity to adequately prepare his defence thus violating the
appellants right to fair hearing, which is a principle of natural justice, “the
ruling reads in part.
The tribunal also observed that the decision to
suspend Dr. Kamunyu for six months with half pay contravened sections of the
employment act and the university human resource manual.
“It is clear from the above provisions that the purpose of suspension is to
allow an investigation against the accused employee before disciplinary
proceedings are commenced against him or her. In this case, no investigation
was carried out. The suspension of six months with half pay was imposed by the
board on the appellant after the disciplinary proceedings had been concluded,”
the tribunal ruled.
directed the university management to immediately pay Dr. Kamunyu the money
that was deducted from his salary for the six months during the suspension. Dr.
Kamunyu has welcomed the judgment, saying it reminds Makerere staff that a
sound academician or intellectual should never fear accountability.
“I have been exonerated of all charges and my name has been cleared. The
lawyers will stud the implications of the malicious charges on my name and advice
on the way forward especially since the High Court ruling had protected my
application for defamation” says Dr Kamunyu.