Muhumuza asked to step down from the case filed by Dr. Denis Asiimwe Katebire, formerly an assistant lecturer at Makerere Law School’s Public Interest Law Clinic-PILAC while appearing before the Justice Patrick Tabaro-led Staff Appeals Tribunal on Wednesday to represent the University.
Cannon Goddy Muhanguzi Muhumuza looks on as Isaac Ssemakadde submits in the Staff Tribunal
Canon Goddy Muhanguzi
Muhumuza, the Principal Legal Officer at Makerere University has excused
himself from an appeal, in which an academic staff is challenging his
Muhumuza asked to step
down from the case filed by Dr. Denis Asiimwe Katebire,
formerly an assistant lecturer at Makerere Law School’s Public Interest Law
Clinic-PILAC while appearing before the Justice Patrick Tabaro-led Staff
Appeals Tribunal on Wednesday to represent the University.
Asiimwe is among the more 40 staff that were sacked by
Makerere University in December 2018. He was dismissed with disgrace from the
University service for allegedly soliciting bribes, a claim he has vehemently
denied. Muhumuza was holding brief for Prossy Katongole Kyazze who
was reportedly providing secretarial services to a parallel university probe
into the Makerere University graduation gown crisis.
“I pray for an adjournment on this matter because I have a
conflict of interest in this matter. I cannot substantively submit and proceed
in this matter,” said Canon Muhumuza.
Dr. Asiimwe’s lawyer, Isaac Ssemakadde objected to the prayer
for adjournment, saying all parties had been invited for the hearing and that
the university lawyer assigned to the case should have known and committed to
the case. He prayed to the Tribunal to proceed with the case and
reinstate his client who he said was unfairly dismissed from university
“We are seeking for interim relief. Since our client appealed
his dismissal, the employment laws regard him to be on suspension once he
appeals and he is entitled to half pay,” Ssemakadde said. Upon deliberations, the Tribunal requested for more time to
study the matter and give its orders in response to Dr. Asiimwe prayers. Ssemakadde
insists that the cases that informed the final decision against his client were
premature, illegal and irrational.
He argued that the decision was not preceded by the
compulsory pre-hearing investigation and other steps required by the law and human
resources manual. "We informed the Board that the Disciplinary Proceedings
against our client was defective for uncertainty. For instance, there is
unacceptable duplicity to wit ‘soliciting and/or obtaining money from student
(s) in exchange for marks’. Who is or are the student (s) at issue and what is
the sum of money at issue, the date of alleged incident?” Ssemakadde asked.
He argues that his client was deprived of the
constitutional right to precision and clarity in description of the offense,
including the disciplinary offence before the tribunal established by law as
well as a reasonable opportunity to be acquitted of all the offenses. Uganda Radio Network has established that the
Bruce Balaba Kabaasa-led Appointments Board declined to grant the investigation
report regarding complaints against Asiimwe and proceeded to decide his case in
Employment Background and how he got into trouble
He joined Makerere University in 2001 as a teaching assistant
in the Human Rights and Peace Centre, of the then Faculty of Law. In 2004, he
applied for appointment as an Assistant Lecturer, which was confirmed by the
University Council’s Appointments Committee at its 356th meeting.
In 2014, Asiimwe was suspended from office by Damalie
Naggita-Musoke, the then Dean of School of Law for abscondment from duty and
soliciting of bribes. In her January 8th suspension letter to Asiimwe, Dr. Naggita
explained that the staffer had been away from duty since June 2013, without due
authorization and without any plausible explanation.
She also highlighted that Dr. Asiimwe, in the exercising his
duty as a Member of the teaching staff of the School of Law solicited and
obtained money from students in exchange for change of marks. “In the circumstances and pursuant to the law applicable this
office is required to and hereby notifies you in writing of the existence of
the above grounds for your removal from office and to which you must respond in
writing,” said Dr. Naggita in her suspension letter to Dr. Asiimwe.
Adding that; “Further, this office is also authorized to and
hereby suspends you from office and from your duties as an Assistant Lecturer at
the School of Law. The suspension will be effective from the 15th January 2014
and will remain in place, pending conclusion of investigations/inquiry into the
allegations contained in the above complaints.”
Asiimwe challenged his suspension in the Civil Division of
High Court where he jointly sued the law School and Makerere University. In his
April 7th 2017 ruling, Justice Yasin Nyanzi declared his suspension irregular
and illegal. Justice Yasin Nyanzi faulted Makerere University for suspending
Asiimwe without investigations and giving him a hearing. He referred the matter
to the University Staff Tribunal for a full hearing.
Court also ordered payment of his monthly Faculty Top-Up
allowance of Shillings. 450,000 from July 2013 to March 2017, dully covering
the period of the “illegal suspension” to the period of the decision of Court
being Shillings 20 Million with an 8 per cent interest from the date of order
to the date of full payment.
“That having referred the matter to the Appointments Board
and Staff Tribunal, it means, it is not over. The applicant though is awarded
half of the taxed costs of the application,” says an order issued by Joy
Bahinguza Kabagye, the Acting Assistant Registrar of the Civil Division of High
Court in 2018.
Following the ruling, Makerere University Appointments Board
sitting at its 546th meeting held on April 21st 2017 received and discussed a
Court ruling in respect to Asiimwe. The Board agreed to request the University Secretary to
initiate an appeal on behalf of the university against the costs awarded and
designate a staff from the Directorate of Legal Affairs to handle the case,
since the acting director, Muhumuza, expressed conflict of interest.
communication dated July 18, 2017 was made by Professor Ernest Okello Ogwang,
the then acting Vice Chancellor to the University Secretary. Subsequently, Charles Barugahare, then then University
Secretary appointed Prossy Katongole Kyazze to handle the matter and also
instructed the university external lawyers of M/S Kateera &Kagumire to
In November 2018, Makerere University constituted the cases
against him for the appointments Board to decide. In a charge sheet drafted by
Andrew Abunyang, the Director Human Resources of the University, Asiimwe was
slapped with two charges of abscondment from duty and soliciting bribe.
The University alleged that the 52-year-old Asiimwe, while
employed as an Assistant Lecturer at the Law School solicited and obtained
money from students in exchange for marks. He was later dismissed in the same
year, during the mass sacking, a decision that he is challenging currently
before the Tribunal.