Lawyers Sue UCC for Lacking Board

Two lawyers have sued Godfrey Mutabazi, the executive director of Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), accusing him of being in the job illegally.

Brian Ogago Abangi and Norah Kaggwa claim that UCC is operating without a board. In the June 8 suit, the two listed UCC as the second defendant. Through Oasis Aocates, the two lawyers contend that in the absence of a board, Mutabazi supervises himself and hence usurps the authority of the board.

“We want a declaration that the acts of Mutabazi amount to incompetence, unprofessionalism and undisciplined conduct unbefitting of a Uganda Communications [commission] employee” they state.

According to the petitioners, Mutabazi was unlawfully appointed interim executive director of ICC under the Uganda Communications Amendment Act 2011, which came into effect in December 2011, with an interim board which lasted a year.

“The second defendant [Mutabazi] was appointed with the title of the interim executive director, a position not provided for under the law, and has gone further to hold out as the executive director in all the documents and notices of the first respondent[UCC], which is a grave misrepresentation to the public,” the plaint partly reads.

The two assert that Mutabazi has made decisions, like the imminent disconnection of phone users with unregistered simcards, which they claim is a preserve of the board. Even appointing staff and determining their terms and conditions, resides with the board, not the executive director, the complainants state.

“The second defendant has determined the manner in which the bank accounts of the commission are operated and managed, a duty reserved for the board under section 69(2) of the Uganda Communications Act,” they affirm.

The plaintiffs say that the UCC secretariat, which Mutabazi heads, implements his decisions and not the decisions of the board as required by Section 15 of the Uganda Communications Act. Thus, the complainants want court to issue a permanent injunction restraining Mutabazi and UCC from carrying out any operations without a board in place.

They also want a declaration that “the appointment of the second defendant as interim executive director of the first respondent [UCC] and the act of the second respondent holding out as the executive director were irregular and illegal.”

They further contend that the continued violation of the law by the defendants will affect the building of institutions in the country. Besides, they want court to order Mutabazi to refund the salary and allowances he has been earning since 2011. Subsequently, the High court has issued summons for Mutabazi to file a defence within 15 days.

Mutabazi could not be reached by telephone, when we sought his comment on this matter. The case has been allocated to Justice Benjamin Kabiito.

Source : The Observer

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