Supreme Court Justice Lillian Ekirikubinza Tibatemwa has sued Judiciary permanent secretary Pius Bigirimana for refusing to pay her US trip allowances.
The allowance money in question dates back to months before Bigirimana took over from Expedito Kagole Kivumbi who was kicked out of office for reportedly embezzling billions of money.
In June 2018, then chief justice Bart Katureebe authorized Tibatemwa’s travel to the US for a course on Advanced Skills and Specialized Human Rights Courses for Judges.
But there was no money to finance her travel, tuition and accommodation costs, and per diem, accounting officer Kivumbi told her.
In total, Tibatemwa needed $15,204 dollars (Shs56.7m) for the trip that would see her spend a fortnight in the US and a week in South Africa.
In the end, Kivumbi and Tibatemwa agreed that the latter uses her money to travel and attend the course, then apply for a refund on return.
However, Kivumbi only authorized the refund of part of the Shs56.7m.
Tibatemwa received Shs24.4m (about $6,536).
She has since been seeking the remaining Shs32.3m ($8,668).
With Kivumbi out of office, Tibatemwa is now disappointed that Bigirimana has ordered her to even return the Shs24.4m she had received, so that the expenses of her trip can undergo an audit.
Bigirimana made this directive in a letter he wrote to Tibatemwa on September 28.
THE COURT CASES
The letter came days after Justice Tibatemwa sued Bigirimana and the Judiciary in the High Court seeking payment of her balance – which she claims Kivumbi had confirmed to his successor in a phone call made in her presence.
Bigirimana’s directive prompted her to seeking another court order declaring the letter null and void, as she awaits a ruling on her first application in which she wants the temple of justice to compel the judiciary to refund her money.
In her latest application, the Supreme Court Judge is also seeking Shs150m in compensation for the inconveniences the judiciary’s failure to pay her on time caused.