The High Court has frozen a decision of Makerere University Vice Chancellor Barnabas Nawangwe suspending the University Secretary Dr. Charles Barugahare, until a judicial review by the same court challenging Barugahare’s forced leave is finalised.
The order was served to the university on Friday but made public on Monday July 6, the Court also blocked the appointment of Mr Yusuf Kiranda, Dr Barugahare’s deputy, as the substantive university secretary.
“An order of injunction doth issue retraining the respondents from continuing to impose disciplinary measures and/or forcing the applicant on compulsory leave as threatening in the second respondent’s letter dated June 29 removing him from his job and duties of the university secretary or the 3rd respondent assuming those duties until disposal of the main application for judicial review,” the court order reads in part.
In an application for judicial review filed before the High Court in Kampala on Friday, Dr. Barugahare, through his lawyers of M/s. Akampumuza & Co. Advocates protests his removal as the University’s Accounting Officer, and a accuses Prof. Nawangwe of witch hunt.
He said respondents including Prof Nawangwe among other respondents targeted him to illegally give away his job and duties to his deputy without giving him a fair hearing.
“The second respondent (Prof. Nawangwe) in all his actions is victimising me for having performed my duties and refused to bow to his pressures to approve questionable expenditures, consents, contracts and decisions that would have cost the (Makerere University) huge sums of money”, Dr. Barugahare says in his affidavit before High Court adding;
“…Prof. Nawangwe orchestrated a scheme to remove me from my job of University Secretary and asked the Permanent Secretary/Secretary to the Treasury (PS/SST) of the 4th Respondent to irregularly appoint my deputy, the 3rd Respondent as Accounting Officer effective 1/7/2020.”
Prof. Nawangwe in his suspension letter of Dr. Barugahare notes that the University Secretary was responsible for the embarrassing gown scandal which marred the University’s 70th graduation ceremony, a claim Dr. Baruhagare vehemently describes as false and concocted accusations aimed at removing him from office.
In his suit, Dr Barugahare denies any role in the procurement of the gowns.
He counter-accused Prof Nawangwe of framing him on all the allegations in order to get him out of office to achieve his scheme.
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Dr Barugahare said the university wrote to the Secretary to the Treasury to strip him of his role as accounting officer of the university.
He said the Secretary to the Treasury subsequently removed him as accounting officer and appointed Mr Kiranda to take his job.
In his court petition, he says the second respondent (Nawangwe) in the said letter made outright false and concocted accusations against him trumped up to achieve his scheme to get him out of office…. “And that [he] set up what he called a concocted management investigation committee to allegedly try me on his trumped up charges”.
Prof. Nawangwe claimed that the internal investigations show that Dr. Barugahare flouted several procurement guidelines when he awarded a procurement contract to Team Uniform Ltd, a private firm to supply 13,500 gowns for this year’s graduation in January.
Now, Nawangwe says investigations have pinned Dr. Barugahare for the mess.
“The accounting officer did not seek the Solicitor General’s approval of the draft contract document in contravention of regulation 1 (1) of the PPDA (Contracts) Regulations, 2014 and Statutory Instrument No. 97 of 2014,” Prof. Nawangwe quotes findings of investigating team.
But Barugahare says; “I am the statutory secretary to Council and any decision to force me on leave or punish me for any reason requires the direct deliberations and approval of the Council”.
He says all these process is being flouted as Prof. Nawangwe seeks to replace him.
Makerere University has recently had staff trouble with court fining the University millions of shillings out of poorly handled staff disputes.