Thursday May 1 2014

Court directs NCHE to respect Joho case ruling

By Richard Wanambwa

High Court has directed National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) to respect the two court directives it issued earlier, stopping any proceedings in the case involving Mombasa governor Hassan Ali Joho.

Court on Wednesday declined to grant a third interim order, arguing that the two interim orders stand and ignoring them meant contempt of court.
“Basing on the fact that the applicant has already received two injunctions from court seeking to stop government from carrying on with any investigation pending hearing of the main Constitution application, the applicant should be in position to use those two injunctive orders to stop any process from taking place,” a ruling by Assistant Court Registrar Eleanor Khaniza reads in part.

This follows a report by Quality Assurance Committee set up by NCHE to probe a Bachelor of Business Administration degree awarded to Mr Joho by Kampala University, which recommended it to be withdrawn.

But Mr Joho filed a case in Kampala challenging the NCHE to withdraw his degree.

As a result, the Constitutional Court issued an interim order on April 22, stopping any proceedings, until the main application is heard.
However, NCHE board unanimously agreed to recall the degree since it breached rules and regulations of NCHE.

But Mr Joho’s Kampala lawyer, Mr Abdu Katuntu, filed a case challenging police and NCHE investigations, stating that the latter would act on the report. He asked for another injunction but court turned it down.

Mr Abass Agaba, who represents the public on NCHE board, said their decision was based on the fact that there was need to protect the integrity of higher education.

“We took a fundamental decision regarding that degree based on findings of the Quality Assurance Committee,” Mr Agaba said.
But Kampala University Vice Chancellor Badru Kateregga said: “The degree is ours. They [NCHE] can only recommend. We shall take them to court. There are two rulings...which they ignore to respect.”