By Spy Uganda
Kampala: The verbal exchange between the Judiciary Permanent Secretary, Pius Bigirimana and Supreme Court judge, Lady Justice Esther Kisakye over her salary has taken a new twist in the latest responses.
This follows a letter in which Bigirimana sought to block Justice Kisakye from getting her salary claiming she had been away from work without official leave for several months.
According to Bigirimana, Justice Kisakye had not returned to office since September 2021 when she returned from her medical leave further noting that it was wrong for the judge to abscond from duty without a valid reason.
“It has been brought to my attention that since September 2021 when you returned from your medical leave, you have never reported back to work nor sought a leave grant from your supervisor. This is a serious matter which I as an accounting officer, has picked interest in,” Bigirimana wrote in his letter.
“The purpose of this memo is to humbly request you to show cause as to why we should not recover nine months’ salary that has been paid to you without working,” he added.
Bigirimana further added that the judge’s salary since July will not be paid until he gets a satisfactory explanation from her for not reporting to work during the said period.
“If I don’t receive the explanation sought within 14 working days, I will proceed to recover all monies remitted to you in form of salary starting with the month of July 2022,” he noted
However, in response, Justice Kisakye accused Bigirimana of making serious allegations against her without tracing her work records.
“I am totally surprised and amazed that a person entrusted with your responsibility ignored clear constitutional provisions and official records about my work, health and leave entitlements, all of which are readily available and accessible within your office, my supervisor’s office, office of the commission, human resource in the judiciary, the Supreme Court of Uganda, Judiciary of Uganda and the medical board,” Justice Kisakye responded in a letter dated July 14.
”You instead chose to tarnish my good name, reputation and record based on hearsay, I have honourably served my country for over 12 years as a justice of the Supreme Court of Uganda since October 2009. I am the longest-serving justice of this court and the most senior in ranking after the Chief Justice. Throughout my time of service, I have always adhered to the constitution, judicial oath and all the laws of Uganda,” she added.
According to Justice Kisakye, no justice of the Supreme Court has ever been required to report to the secretary of the judiciary or to submit an individual report to the Permanent Secretary as demanded by Bigirimana.
“If the law has recently been changed, I would be grateful if you could provide me with a copy thereof and or the regulations requiring this report and also copies of reports submitted by my colleagues at the court who have already complied with this new requirement for information and my guidance,” Justice Kisakye said.
Justice Kisakye further contends that her supervisor is fully aware of her output since September 2021 and her subsequent absence from office adding that the directives and intended actions by Bigirimana contravene the constitution and the right to a fair hearing.
“The questions you are now asking me should be directed to the relevant judiciary officials who for reasons best known to themselves declined to execute their responsibilities and I cannot be blamed for their failure to do their work,” she noted.
It’s worth noting that Justice Kisakye’s troubles stem from the 2021 presidential election petition hearing when she forcefully proceeded to read her minority ruling after having a disagreement with her fellow justices of the Supreme Court.
Kisakye alleged that Chief Justice, Alfonse Owiny Dollo had wanted to gag her from reading her dissenting ruling by ordering the confiscation of her file before the public address system and lights were switched off as Kisakye proceeded to address the press.
Kisakye further alleged that the Supreme Court was unfair to Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine who was President Museveni’s close rival when it refused to grant him permission to amend his petition but also allow him time to file additional evidence.