Former National Social Security Fund (NSSF) Managing Director Richard Byarugaba has dragged the Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development Hon. Betty Amongi to court for refusing to renew his contract at NSSF.
In a suit filed before the Civil Division of the High Court in Kampala, Amongi has been sued jointly with the Attorney General and Byarugaba contends that having served NSSF for two terms, before the end of the second one, the minister tried to end it prematurely through a letter in which she claimed he ought to have left office for having clocked the mandatory 60 years age of retirement.
He says it was only on the intervention of the Attorney General that he was able to complete his second term.
“The aforementioned attempt to prematurely retire me occurred after the board of directors of NSSF had recommended to the minister that Patrick Ayota , the deputy Managing Director and I be granted new contracts effective December, 1, 2022,” Byarugaba says.
According to Byarugaba, whereas the board based on the fund’s exciting performance during his two terms, the need to complete the 10-year strategic plan for the NSSF for stable continuity, succession and emergence responses in the early provisions of the NSSF amendment Act 2022, the minister refused to renew his contract.
“On November, 25, 2022, the board of NSSF wrote to the minister once more reminding her of the unresolved issue of our reappointment. They reiterated their recommendation to reappoint us to our respective positions for terms of five years each.”
“I am also aware that Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Gender by letter dated November, 23, 2022 sought advice from the Attorney General regarding my eligibility for reappointment as Managing Director. In response to the said request for advice, the Attorney General advised the Permanent Secretary that there was no legal bar to my reappointment if the board recommended it. Despite this advice, the minister only renewed the contract of the deputy Managing Director by letter dated November, 30, 2022,” Byarugaba says.
He adds that for his case, Minister Amongi deferred his reappointment by raising various unknown and undisclosed allegations about him including financial impropriety, collusion with contractors, defiance of presidential directives, misrepresentation of facts among others.
Byarugaba says Among assumed the role of his primary accuser since she didn’t disclose any identifiable source of the said allegations, adding that following a meeting of relevant stakeholders at State House in Entebbe, the Prime Minister wrote to Amongi noting that the president had assigned the responsibility to conclude the issue of the renewal of the contract to her but the same was not done.
Byarugaba accuses Minister Amongi of solely being responsible for his failure to resume his duties as NSSF Managing Director and that failure to act on guidance of the Prime Minister in regards his contract was procedurally incorrect , irrational and unreasonable.
He says that Amongi personally filed a complaint before the IGG making several allegations against him which were later cleared, adding that the minister again refused to renew his contract. Byarugaba says the actions by the minister are procedurally incorrect, irrational, unreasonable but also ignored the outcome of the report of the IGG which cleared him of any wrongdoing.
“The impugned decision by the minister was demonstrably motivated by animosity and active bias towards the applicant, manifested by her assumption of the role of the accuser, investigator, prosecutor and ultimately, the judge, contrary to the rules of natural justice,” Byarugaba says.
Byarugaba wants court to issue an order calling up the decision of the minister in which she communicated to the NSSF board on June, 30, 2023 rejecting his reappointment as Managing Director.
“Court should issue an order directing the minister to discharge her statutory duty to complete the reappointment of the applicant to the position of the Managing Director of National Social Security Fund as recommended by the board and required by the law.”
This website was not able to reach Minister Amongi or Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka for a comment.