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Suspended Judiciary PS Kagole Kivumbi’s Forced Leave Illegal - Court

Regarding costs, Justice Ssekaana has ruled that each party shall bear its costs since the applicant was pursuing a public interest litigation with no direct interest but rather the interest was to defend the rule of law.
15 Dec 2020 18:30
Judiciary Permanent Secretary Kagole Kivumbi lost in thought following several inquiries by MPs.
High Court in Kampala has declared that the decision to send the former Permanent Secretary/ Secretary to Judiciary Expedito Kagole- Kivumbi on indefinite forced leave is illegal and unreasonable.

 

The Deputy head of Civil Division Justice Musa Ssekaana in his ruling on Tuesday  noted that Kivumbi's forced leave ought to have had a timeline within which to investigate the allegations of financial misappropriation that were levied against him.     

Court's decision followed an application filed by city lawyer Paul Mukiibi challenging the suspension of Kagole Kivumbi saying the employment Act and Uganda Orders provide for interdiction where one may be removed from office to allow investigation but does not provide for forced leave.   

  In July 2018, Kagole-Kivumbi was offered a renewal of appointment as Permanent Secretary to the Judiciary for a period of 36 months by President Yoweri Museveni.  

According to the evidence before court, Kivumbi was involved in overseeing the Finances, administration and accountability of funds for the judiciary.    

  But in August 2018, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development received allegations of financial impropriety against Kivumbi and forwarded the same to the Inspectorate of Government for investigation.  

    Later, an audit conducted by the Auditor General carried on the accounts of the Judiciary for the Financial year ended June 30th 2018 and his report to Parliament a year later expressed an adverse opinion showing mismanagement of more than 36 billion shillings. 

      Following this, on July 25 2019, the Secretary to Treasury received a decision of from the Secretary to Cabinet and the head of Public Service John Mitala directing that Kagole-Kivumbi should go on forced leave to allow the treasury investigate some alleged irregularities in the said financial activities.  

  A day later, Kivumbi handed over office and has since been replaced by Pius Bigirimana.  

    In the aftermath, city lawyer Mukiibi in August 2020 filed a case against the Attorney General before the Civil Division of High Court stating that Kagole Kivumbi's forced leave was against the principles of the right to a fair hearing.

Mukiibi asked Court to quash his forced leave and reinstate Kivumbi to his office.  

But in his ruling, Justice Ssekaana said the decision of sending Kagole Kivumbi on leave was legal and reasonable in initial stages by the appointing authority but it became illegal and unreasonable once it become an indefinite forced leave.

According to the Public Service Standing orders, a government official is not supposed to be interdicted for more than six months.

Regarding costs, Justice Ssekaana has ruled that each party shall bear its costs since the applicant was pursuing a public interest litigation with no direct interest but rather the interest was to defend the rule of law.