Court allows Byarugaba to include Ayota in NSSF case

Former National Social Security Fund managing director Richard Byarugaba (left) and his lawyer Anthony Bazira at the High Court in Kampala on September 27, 2023. PHOTO/ABUABKER LUBOWA

What you need to know:

  • The directive followed an application in which Mr Byarugaba sought court permission to allow him include new facts that have since emerged after he filed the case.

Court has allowed former National Social Security Fund (NSSF) Managing Director Richard Byarugaba to amend his pleadings in which he is challenging the Gender minister’s decision to reject his re-appointment as the Fund’s head.

High Court judge Musa Ssekaana ordered that in the interest of justice, the amendments should include Mr Patrick Ayota, the newly appointed NSSF managing director, because he is likely to be affected by the decision of the court.

“The applicant (Byarugaba) shall file an amended application by September 28 this year; the respondents (Attorney General and minister) and the new party shall file their response within two weeks by October 11. The matter shall come up for mention on October 12. The parties shall also agree on issues to be determined by this court,” Justice Ssekaana ruled amidst objections by the Attorney General’s representative, Mr Kodoli Wanyama.
While declining to hear the submission of the Attorney General’s representative that was seeking to object to the amendment, Justice Ssekaana reasoned that Mr Ayota cannot be condemned and heard yet he is a beneficiary of the appointment.
“It does not take away your defence in any way. Whatever you have stated here remains, the only additions are the particulars of the appointment because he (Byarugaba) wants him out of the office,” Justice Ssekaana ruled.

“Why should I waste my energy? You may not mind about yours, I wake up at night to write judgments. Should I wake up at night to write a ruling on amendment to add a new ground which has just arisen? Let’s be fair to ourselves,” he added.  

National Social Security Fund (NSSF) Managing Director, Patrick Ayota. PHOTO/FILE

The directive followed an application in which Mr Byarugaba sought court permission to allow him include new facts that have since emerged after he filed the case.

Mr Byarugaba, through his lawyer Mr Anthony Bazira, is seeking to overturn the appointment of Mr Ayota as the NSSF boss. He reasons that he was ineligible for the appointment as on August 17 because he was holding a substantive statutory position of deputy managing director of the Fund on a fixed five-year term.

The former NSSF boss is also seeking for an order to quash the decision of the Gender minister dated August 18 in which Mr Ayota was appointed as the fund’s managing director, reasoning that he was not eligible to be appointed and hence not entitled to act.

Mr Bazira told court that the amendment sought was because Mr Ayota’s appointment was made just a few days to the hearing of the case and that it would have been wastage of time if they filed a new suit.
On August 8, Mr Byarugaba sued the Attorney General and Gender minister, asking court to direct the latter to discharge her statutory duty to complete his re-appointment for a five-year term as it had been recommended by the board and required by law.

He alleged that the sworn statements in reply to his case contain developments that were not in existence at the time of filing and service of his August 8 case.
In the amended application, Mr Byarugaba alleges that the new developments are manifestly unlawful, being in contravention of the letter and spirit of the NSSF Act.

“That I am in possession of documentary evidence that demonstrates that the purported new appointments were made in a manner whereby the board was not exercising its independent mind as envisaged by the law. Instead, the (NSSF) board was acting under the influence of the second respondent (Minister) and indeed contrary to their own prior written advice to the respondent,” Mr Byarugaba states in the sworn affidavit.

He contends that the appointment of Mr Ayota was manifestly illegal, irrational and made with the sole purpose of frustrating his legitimate expectations.