Court has ordered government to pay a former Chief Administrative Officer shs153.9 million for being dismissed from work illegally.
Juma Nkunyingi Ssembajja was in 2009 appointed as a deputy Chief Administrative Officer and since then served in Manafwa district but was later transferred to Kyenjojo and Adjumani in the same position.
However, in 2011 he was charged and convicted by the Mbale High Court over offences committed while still in Manafwa.
Nkunyingi later appealed against the conviction but was also released on bail pending hearing of his appeal.
Following his release from prison, he found his position as Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Adjumani District had since been given to another individual without being notified whereas his name had also been deleted from the government payroll and had not received his emoluments since 2012.
He dragged government to court over the illegal dismissal from work.
On Friday, Justice Musa Ssekaana of the Civil Division of the High Court ruled that it was wrong for Nkunyingi to be dismissed without being given a fair hearing.
“The manner in which the applicant’s dismissal was carried out invites this court to question the motive behind it, if there others who have not been removed from office and yet they are convicted by the first court,” the judge said.
“The respondent’s arguments that the right to be heard was not envisaged at this stage are not tenable. At every stage an affected person ought to know about the decision that is going to be taken against him. It is wrong to assume that once the court has handed down a conviction against a public servant, then automatically, the secretary Public Service Commission acts like a robot with punched-in information to auto dismiss any such convicted public servant.”
The court said the Public Service Commission ought to wait for Nkunyingi’s appeal to be determined before determining his fate, a thing they didn’t do.
Consequently, Justice Musa Ssekaana ordered government to pay the former Deputy Chief Administrative Officer a sum of shs153.9 million which was his entitlement as per his contract of employment and damages for the illegal dismissal from work in November 2012 until the determination of his appeal.
“The award of entitlements shall accrue an interest of 20% from the time the amount was due until payment in full. The application is allowed with to costs against the respondents,” the judge ruled.