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PS Ssali Didn't Slap Legal Officer-Trade Ministry :: Uganda Radionetwork
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PS Ssali Didn't Slap Legal Officer-Trade Ministry

"Ms. Sandra's unnecessary aggression caused the Security team of the Permanent Secretary and that of the Ministry to restrain her from getting physical while unfortunately continuing to shout and insult the team head," says the head of human resources.
PS Geraldine Ssali
The Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Cooperatives has defended Permanent Secretary Geraldine Ssali in the altercation that reportedly happened between her and the ministry's Legal Head, Sandra Karyn Anena last Friday. The Senior Human Resource, Victoria Nansikombi also dismissed allegations that the PS physically assaulted Ms Anena during the incident.

Anena has since reported the matter to police, accusing Ssali and her security team of beating her up and causing bodily harm to her, accusations which SHRO Nansikombi dismissed as untrue.

Instead, in a letter suspending Anena after the incident, PS Ssali accused Anena of disrespect and insubordination by throwing profanities at her at a meeting at the ministry.

It started when new State Minister for Trade Gen Wilson Mbasu Mbadi asked for more office space to accommodate his bigger security detail, a request that the PS granted. However, it is said that this restructuring would affect the office area of Anena, who wouldn't take it lightly, resulting in a verbal exchange, that saw her allegedly refer to the PS as a "loose" woman, an ensuing physical brawl was reportedly thwarted by the security personnel around.

Ssali then wrote the letter interdicting the Legal Officer. In explaining the situation, Ms Nansikombi said the PS had led the team around the floors occupied by the ministry at Farmers House and to identify possible spaces to accommodate the new demands.

In total "6 offices, were identified as part of this reorganisation where some were being painted over the weekend, others were made empty with records having to be shifted off-site, others with Ministry staff had to be relocated to other offices to create additional space," she says, adding that several staff members in different departments were affected and heeded the changes.

"All Staff affected complied without any challenges, except one staff; Ms Sandra Karyn Aneno, the Senior Legal Officer refused to comply and instead opted to use abusive language (profanities) against the management led by the Permanent Secretary in the midst of colleagues at work," says the SHRO's statement.

"Ms. Sandra's unnecessary aggression caused the Security team of the Permanent Secretary and that of the Ministry to restrain her from getting physical while unfortunately continuing to shout and insult the team head amidst the presence of colleagues."

Nansikombi says the decision was made by the team to suspend the Legal Officer and comprehensively investigate the matter. She has also accused Anena of using media blackmail against the PS, adding that the ministry has also reported it to the police.

"The criminal aspects of the matter were immediately reported to police by management to handle. There was no slapping involved at any one time and New Vision publication and its readers are hereby notified on the same," says Nansikombi in a statement.

In the suspension letter, Ssali accused Anena of "exhibiting gross unbecoming behavior such as abusive language against me, assaulting, threatening me, throwing items at me and insubordination which is irregular for a public officer of your caliber."

She says these are actions in total disregard of the provisions of the Uganda Public Service Standing Orders 2021 and constitute gross misconduct. She says, that during the two weeks, Anena will receive half of her basic salary and will only leave the country with express permission from the responsible officer.

She was also told to hand over the office and refrain from appearing in the office premises "except if required on matters relating to the case of which you have been interdicted..." Anena also faces further disciplinary action. "In the same reference, you are required to show cause why institutions of disciplinary actions should not be taken against you, this should reach my office within seven working days in any case not later than April 16, 2024”