Government Appeals Against Court Order To Pay 100Bn To Ex-KCC Employees

Government Appeals Against Court Order To Pay 100Bn To Ex-KCC Employees

By Siraje Lubwama

A week after 1013 ex-KCC employees received the good news from court awarding them over Shs100Billion in a six-year legal battle, their joys have been cut short, because the bad news is that Government and Kampala Capital City
Authority (KCCA) have filed a notice of appeal challenging the awards!

In 2012, ten former KCC (KCCA) employees led by Justine Kasule, the former Principal Assistant Town Clerk in charge of Makindye Division on
behalf of other colleagues, through their lawyers led by Geoffrey Nangumya petitioned court alleging that they were illegally terminated
17 months after KCCA had taken over KCC.

They sued the Ministry of Public Service & cabinet Affairs, the
Executive Director (ED) KCCA Jennifer Musisi, KCCA, Attorney General (AG) and the Secretary Public Service Commission challenging among
other things the use of “illegal” Administrative guidelines issued by the latter with conditions contrary to those under KCCA Act which hired their services.

On April 24, the High court (Civil Division) trial judge Lydia Mugambe issued her judgment arguing that the termination was both embarrassing and inconveniencing because the applicants were dismissed unceremoniously before attaining60 yrs as per the laws pertaining civil servants. “They [applicants have suffered financially distress since they were put out of
jobs without the opportunity to be absolved under the public service departments and they could have invested their retirement packages
and earned sufficient profit from them if they had been calculated
properly,” ruled the judge in her 16 page verdict.

Taking all considerations into account, Mugambe noted in her judgment that of the applicants, 28 of them had since died and that convinced her that
they deserved better treatment from their employers. “I hereby award each of the [1013] applicants general damages of
Shs5m. However, I am declining to award exemplary or punitive damages. Also, considering that the pain and suffering occasioned to the applicants by both the Government and KCCA, the general damages should be paid jointly and or severally by both KCCA and Government,” Mugambe
said in one of her 12 orders.

She also ordered that the applicants who had filled the courtroom
should be paid re-numeration and other applicable benefits under the
KCCA Act and other Government laws for the 17 months they worked under KCCA emphasizing that any balance due and owing should only be paid by KCCA. “The lawyers [Nangumya and Paul Tusubiira] should be paid only 10 percent as legal fees; to avoid inconvenience and conflicts between the applicants and their lawyers, payments should be directly to the applicants’ accounts after deductions of the lawyers’ fees which should also be directly paid to the lawyers, the judge added.

However, on May 2, 2018 KCCA ED Jeniffer Musisi Semakula asked the AG to request for a satisfied copy of the judgment she referred to as “unfair” with a view of appealing at the Court of Appeal challenging part of the verdicts.“Request is made to the above subject matter wherein we represent the ED and KCCA. KCCA being dissatisfied with the High Court decision delivered on 24th April, intends to appeal to Court against the same, this is to request you to avail us with a copy of the typed and satisfied judgment and the record of the proceedings to enable us prepare and file the memorandum of appeal…,” said part of the notice
signed by Caleb Mugisha, KCCA Manager Litigation Service.

Following this notification, the Solicitor General also wrote indicating that the AG intends to appeal against part of the trial court’s decision.

When contacted on Monday, Nangumya confirmed that they have been
served with the Respondent’s intention to appeal and instructed by their client to wait for the court’s decision on the matter.
“It is either way, court can stop us from executing the decree [to recover the awards for ex-KCC workers] or to order Government and KCCA
to pay them as they appeal, we’re ready to abide by what comes and most importantly to firmly defend our clients in an appellant court.

Brian Ssegawa a former parish chief Busega and one of the lead applicants said whereas they expected KCCA administration and
Government to call them for a meeting over the payment schedule, they
are surprised to note that they are Appealing instead!

“We are convening soon to see how better our lawyers will defend us in the Court of Appeal and also show that we were not fairly paid, leave alone the trial judge being lenient to the Respondents, we may
demand for more,” said Ssegawa.
Other lead applicants include Robina Kayongo Kayondo PATC, Simon
Muhumuza, PRO, Moses Waidha financial officer, Frank Kaitale
enforcement officer, Geoffrey Kiiza ,Medical officer, Geoffrey Ndaula
deputy Director Finance, Musisi Godfrey, records officer and Angella
Ssemambo, Human resource who died recently.

One of the victims is a 23-year fresh graduate who had worked for only one year.
According to Kasule, 87 of their colleagues are sick. KCC ceased to
exist on February 28, 2011 before the coming into force KCCA Act on
March 1, 2011.

Mugambe in her judgment noted among other things that the applicants were lawfully as former KCC employees transferred to KCCA where they
worked from march 1, 2011to July 21, 2012.
When the workers were terminated in 2012, they petitioned the speaker of Parliamentary Rebecca Kadaga who forwarded their complaint to the parliamentary committee in charge of Public Service which yielded no fruits after they failed to produce a report.

Whereas senior employees like Eng Stephen Kinyera are likely to be
paid Shs300m the lowest expects to get Shs20m total award.

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