Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Commissioner for refugees in the Office of the Prime Minister, Apollo David Kazungu has sued government for failing to reinstate him to office more than six months after he was interdicted on corruption related allegations.
Kazungu was interdicted by the OPM Permanent Secretary, Christine Guwatudde Kintu on February 23rd, 2018 together with Walter Omondi, the refugee desk officer in Mbarara, Francis Nkwasibwe, a registration officer in Mbarara and John Baptist Sentamu, formerly the camp commandant in Mbarara.
They were accused of among others theft of food items meant for refugees, bribery in the allocation of government land, scholarships, trafficking in minor girls, married women to men not of their choice, interference in refugee elections and community leaders.
Their interdiction stemmed from a letter by the by the United Nations Resident Coordinator to the Prime Minister, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda implicating the officials on the said allegations and mismanagement of the Solidarity Summit Funds worth US$540 (approximately Shillings 1.9 trillion).
Now, in his petition before the High Court Civil Division, Kazungu says government has investigated him for more than the mandatory six months since he was interdicted but failed to come up with evidence implicating him on the charges levied against him.
According to Kazungu, on October 15th, 2018, the OPM Permanent Secretary, sought advice from the Solicitor General on his reinstatement and the latter advised that an appeal should be made to the Public Service for his reinstatement.
Kazungu contends that through his lawyers of Thomas and Michael Advocates he wrote to the head of Public Service who also wrote to the Permanent Secretary asking her to justify why he shouldn’t be reinstated.
“Both the advice of the Solicitor General and the directive of the Public Service Commission were disregarded by the Permanent Secretary”, reads his application in court. Kazungu says that he has been advised by his lawyers that the failure by the Permanent Secretary to reinstate him is illegal, procedurally improper and irrational.
Kazungu now wants court to declare the refusal by the OPM Permanent Secretary to reinstate him to office as the Commissioner for refugees unconstitutional as well as award general damages for inconveniences caused to him.
Court has summoned the Attorney General to file government’s defense before the matter is allocated to a Judge for hearing. Trouble for Kazungu and his colleagues started in 2018 when the United Nations wrote to the Uganda government demanding that investigations be carried out into alleged corruption, theft of money meant for refugees and inflation of the number of refugees.
As a result, OPM together with UN agencies conducted investigations which exposed more than 300,000 ghost refugees in Uganda.