The long awaited admission of pioneer students at Soroti University hangs in balance after the former university secretary, Ms Ruth Achimo, ran to court to challenge his interdiction by the university council.
Ms Achimo, who is the signatory to the university accounts, was on February 3 interdicted by the university council headed by Mr Francis Lubanga to pave way for investigations by the IGG against her over corruption.
However, she petitioned the High Court in Soroti last week, seeking to stop her interdiction and bar the IGG from investigating her.
Ms Achimo says the interdiction and the planned IGG investigations against her are malicious and intended to tarnish her reputation.
University authorities are now worried that the court case will delay the opening process.
“The institute is set to admit the first bunch of students and the long court process will delay the admission process,” Mr Daniel Okalebo, the university lawyer, told court last Friday.
Students were expected to report for first term in January but the opening was pushed to August.
“The applicant is a signatory to Soroti University, which is the respondent’s bank account, and dragging the matter can greatly affect the ongoing activities that require financial support, including the planned admissions,” Mr Okalebo added.
However, Mr Vincent Kasaija, the lawyer for the IGG, said her interdiction process was transparent and hence no need to waste court’s time.
“We want the applicant’s case to be disposed because she is stifling the constitutional mandate of the second respondent [IGG],” said Mr Kasaija.
In response, Justice Batema said the applicant needs time to understand the affidavit. He also cautioned the parties against taking institutional political fights in court.
“If it’s influenced by our local politics, play it there but don’t bring it here, if it’s to be legal, let’s do and remain legal. You should come when your hands are clean so that we achieve substantive justice,” he warned as he adjourned the case to February 20.
Recently, one of the university staff was charged in court for allegedly selling a university bull and failing to account for the money.
The envisaged Science and Technology University was supposed to have its pioneer class in August 2016 but it failed to admit students due to unfinished construction works.
Mr Lubanga, the chairperson of university council in a February 3 letter to Ms Achimo, stated that the office of the IGG had received a complaint alleging several corruption malpractices perpetuated by her. “Consequently, I was ordered to interdict you from office until their investigations are concluded,” he explained, adding that the letter serves three purposes; interdiction, and handover of office to her deputy.