Pro-Bobi Wine Supreme Court’s Justice Esther Kisakye Kitimbo might not get her salary until she has agreed to the terms and conditions set by Pius Bigirimana, the Secretary and Permanent Secretary (PS) to the Judiciary, a letter from the latter to the former has revealed.
Justice Kisakye’s woes have been deepening since she boldly defied Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny Dollo during the hearing of the 2021 presidential election petition filed by National Unity Platform (NUP) presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine.
A sickness would come into the picture, necessitating Justice Kisakye’s absence from office for many months. Now, PS Bigirimana has ridden on the vocal judge’s absenteeism to order the withholding of her salary.
The decision by Bigirimana, the Judiciary and the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to take punitive action against Justice Kisakye has been criticized by local and international activists, including members of International Commission of Jurists (ICJ).
In his letter dated July 01, 2022, addressed to Lady Justice Kisakye, and titled ‘AWAY WITHOUT OFFICIAL LEAVE (AWOL,’ PS Bigirimana explained his decision to withdraw the firebrand judge’s salary.
Bigirimana accuses Kisakye of staying away from work for a period of nine months without seeking permission from her supervisor.
“It has been brought to my attention that since September 2021, when you returned from your medical leave, you have NEVER reported to work nor sought leave grant from your supervisor. This is a serious matter which I, as Accounting Officer, [have] picked interest,” wrote Bigirimana in a memo also copied to Chief Justice Owiny Dollo, Principal Judge Dr Flavian Zeija and Judiciary Registrar Sarah Langa Siu.
“I wish to bring to your attention the mandate of Accounting Officer under Articles 164 and 174 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda which commands the Accounting Officer to account for all funds appropriated under his/her charge. Accountability means that there should be full disclosure of how funds appropriated by Parliament have been utilized. I also invite you to Section 45 of the Public Finance Management Act which requires the Accounting Officer to ensure that there is value for money appropriated and released to any entity.”
PS Bigirimana gave Justice Kisakye 14 working days within which to defend herself, failure of which her salary would be withheld.
“The purpose of this memo is to humbly request you to show cause as to why I cannot recover nine months’ salary which has been paid to you without working. Please take note that I am giving instructions not to process your salary starting with the month of July 2022 until a satisfactory explanation is offered,” further wrote Bigirimana.
“If I don’t receive the explanation sought within 14 working days, I will proceed to recover all the funds remitted to you in form of salary starting with the month of July 2022.”
It is such orders by PS Bigirimana that raised concern from the International Commission of Jurists whose members think that Justice Esther Kisakye is being harassed for being a Pro-Bobi Wine Judge. (Read Story Here).
Read more interesting facts about Justice Esther Kisakye, the most experienced judge on Uganda’s Supreme Court bench HERE.