Sunday April 20 2014

IGG loses case against UDB boss

Ms Patricia Ojangole at Buganda Road

Ms Patricia Ojangole at Buganda Road court recently. PHOTO BY ABUBAKER LUBOWA.  

By Eriasa Mukiibi Sserunjogi

Kampala- The High Court quashed the suspension of Uganda Development Bank chief executive officer Patricia Ojangole by the Inspector General of Government (IGG).

The court ruling ends Ms Ojangole’s three-month suspension from office.

The suspension
Ms Ojangole was on February 14 suspended by the Uganda Development Bank (UDB) board chairman Prof Samuel Sejjaaka on orders of the IGG, Ms Irene Mulyagonja.

Ms Mulyagonja ordered the board to suspend Ms Ojangole on account that she would use her stay in office to interfere with the IGG investigations into how she was running the bank.

Ms Ojangole was suspended with two other bank officials, Mr Andrew Mulubya and Mr Daniel Kaggwa.
“In view of the procedural defects, irrationalities and illegalities I have outlined in this ruling, the IGG’s directive against the applicants cannot be allowed to stand. The same stands quashed by way of an order of certiorari,” Justice Stephen Musota’s ruling reads in part.

The background
The ruling was delivered at the High Court’s Civil Division on April 14.
This followed a petition by Ms Ojangole, Mr Mulubya, Mr Kaggwa, board chairman Prof Sejjaaka and UDB challenging the IGG’s directive.

The IGG’s order came at the height of disagreements between the IGG and the UDB board of directors regarding the running of the bank. Whereas the board wanted the IGG to investigate the loss of billions of shillings caused by the bank’s interdicted management staff, the IGG instead pursued accusations the suspended employees made against the bank.

As a result of the IGG’s investigations, Ms Ojangole was charged with “victimising a whistleblower” and “conflict of interest”.

The IGG accused her of participating in the recruitment process that led to her appointment as CEO of the bank.

IGG’s mandate
The judge agreed with the bank’s lawyers, Ligomack Associates, that “the IGG does not have mandate to order the board of directors on how they should exercise their discretionary powers to discipline staff.”

The judge also restrained the IGG from “making any further orders or directives for the interdiction, suspension, termination” of any of the employees of UDB.