KAMPALA – High Court Judge Andrew Bashaija has directed Makerere University to pay Shs115 million to Associate Professor Charles Niwagaba for wrongful dismissal from work.
The court has in addition awarded the engineering professor UGx. 50 million and condemned the University to the costs of the case, which which see the institution cough up to an estimated UGx. 300 million in the dismissal turned sour.
The court has in addition awarded the engineering professor UGx. 50 million damages and condemned the University to the costs of the suit, which could see the institution cough up to an estimated UGx. 300 million in the dismissal of an employee now turned sour.
He faulted the University for breaching its own procedures, undermining its organs and structures for employment and the rules of natural justice because he was never accorded a fair hearing.
Prof. Niwagaba also claimed that prior to his official dismissal, the University subjected him to a Sub Committee of the Appointments Board over several allegations and eventually condemned him on the charges of insubordination after several amendments of the charge sheet.
In his ruling, Justice Bashaija noted that the University never challenged the facts presented by Prof. Niwagaba, adding that indeed by the time the applicant ran to court, he had exhausted all internal remedies of the University and failed to get justice.
“That the Respondent’s Appointments Board abdicated and ceded its powers to a subcommittee to execute its full statutory functions and took the final decision to dismiss the Appellant without the whole Appointments Board giving him a hearing. That the Respondent’s Appointments Board breached the Appellant’s legitimate expectation when it used non mandated organs, did not follow the set statutory procedures and denied him a fair hearing before reaching the decision to dismiss him. That the Respondent’s Appointments Board dismissed the Appellant based on false charges, the dismissal e-mail that did not contain and/or state the reason for the dismissal,” the ruling adds.
He directed the University to pay Prof. Niwagaba his salary arrears and emoluments. He also awarded him Shilling 50 million as compensation for damages caused for illegal suspension at a 6 percent interest rate from the time of ruling until full payment is made.
“That the Respondent has acted ultra vires, unfairly and illegally by endlessly shutting out the Applicant from having his appeal fixed and heard by the Appeals Tribunal. The Applicant has lost money as a result of Respondent’s actions. This includes UGX.8,886,787 being the monthly salary for Associate Professor Scale M4 from January to-date which totals to UGX.44,433,935; missed allowances of work done as shall properly be computed by the Respondent to the satisfaction of court; expenses of UGX.60 million being money used while getting legal consultancy,” the ruling reads in part. The 45 employees that were dismissed from Makerere University during the 2018 Christmas holidays were accused of among other issues, insubordination, financial fraud, sexual harassment of students and failure to report for duty.