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Windfall! Court orders govt, KCCA to pay Lord Mayor Lukwago UGX 600m after withholding his salary in political row

Government and KCCA to dig deep after courts ruled that they compensate over UGX 600 million to Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago. (PHOTO/File)

KAMPALA – Justice Andrew Bashaija has ordered the Minister for Kampala Betty Kamya, the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and the Attorney General to pay over UGX 600 million to the Lord Mayor as his accumulated salary emoluments and damages for illegally withholding it since 2013.

The accumulated monies are to cover the period between December 2013 and May 2016 which KCCA had refused to remit to the Lord Mayor, Erias Lukwago under the pretext that he was out of office during that period following his impeachment by councillors.

However, Justice Bashaija noted in his ruling that the impeachment was invalidated by several court orders that were issued between December 2013  to January 2014  and therefore Mr Lukwago was presumed to be the rightful occupant of the office for the contentious 30 months; henceforth he must be paid his salary.

“Taking all factors of this case into account particularly the long period of time the applicant has been denied of a livelihood by the respondents and the frustrations he met each time he tried to enforce his right, court considers that UGX 100million is fair and adequate in the circumstances,” he ruled.

Adding, “It is awarded as general damages to the applicant and shall attract interest at the rate of 8% per annum from the date of this ruling until payment in full.”

Until last year,  in a bid to recover his entitlements, Mr Lukwago collectively sued the Attorney General, former KCCA executive director Jennifer Musisi, Ms Kamya and the Authority itself for orders that court compels them to pay his salary arrears as the continued refusal to pay it without any justifiable reason is unlawful.

However, in their dismissed defence before court, minister Kamya, Jennifer Musisi, KCCA and the Attorney General claimed that they could not pay Mr Lukwago because he had refused to withdraw all cases he had against them in court.

Justice Bashaija noted that now in light that the court of Appeal has dismissed all pending cases, nothing can stop KCCA to pay Lukwago as the authority has earlier committed itself in several correspondences.

The judge also noted that the conduct of the respondents in continuing to freeze the salary and emoluments of the Mayor without any lawful justification is improper in law and ultravires their powers.

“It is no doubt that if the applicant filed a separate action for damage at the time of filing this application he would have succeeded given the uncontroverted evidence that the unjustifiable denial by respondents has subjected him to gross inconveniences, psychological torture and mental anguish,” Justice Bashaijja ruled.

Court has also awarded Lukwago costs of this application.

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