The High Court Civil Division has dismissed an application filed by Dr. Wilberforce Wandera Kifudde, the former Technical Manager Production of National Animal Genetic Resources Centre and Data Bank (NAGRC & DB) against the Executive Director and Attorney General.
Through his lawyers, Crispus Ayena Adongo and Gordon Kifudde, Wandera sued the NAGRIC ED, Dr. Charles Legu andAttorney General early this year for advertising his job before the expiry of his contract. In his application, Wandera explained that the Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries Minister extended his three year contract from November 2nd, 2019 to November 2nd, 2022 following the expiry of the old one on November 2, 2019.
He however, explained that without giving him notice, NAGRIC and Dr. Lagu advertised his job and denied him salary and gratuity from November 2019 to April 2020 when he went to court. He said the decision to advertise his job before the expiry of his contract was tainted with illegality, irrationality and procedural impropriety.
He asked court to compel the Attorney General to advice NAGRIC and its executive director to uphold the minister’s decision. He also court to direct NAGRIC to clear his salary from November 2019 to April 2020, which amounts to Shillings 57 million and contract gratuity for the financial year 2019/2020 amounting to Shillings 4.58 million.
He further prayed that court quashes the advertisement of his job and issue an injunction prohibiting the respondents from further advertising of that position until his contract expires in 2022. Wandera also sought general damages worth Shillings 500 million for the mental anguish and suffering occasioned to him after their deliberate failure to pay his salary for six months taking into account the financial hardships exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, the respondents who were represented by Grace Karuhanga and David Kamukama challenged the application, saying that the renewal of the applicant’s contract was illegal as the NAGRIC Board of Directors, which is mandated to do so wasn’t not constituted and as such the contract is void.
They further argued that when the board was fully instituted, it started the regularization of staff contracts and that’s how the applicant’s job was advertised. Delivering his judgment, Justice Musa Ssekaana concurred with the respondents that the Agriculture Minister didn’t have powers to renew the applicant’s contract, saying his action was illegal, null and void.
He therefore dismissed the application and ordered each party to meet its own costs of the suit since the applicant isn’t to blame for the illegal actions of the Agriculture Minister. He also said the applicant isn’t entitled to receive any salary payment and gratuity.