The clerk to parliament Jane Kibirige has opposed an application by Chris Ariko Obore, the director of communication and public affairs of parliament seeking a judicial review on the decision to terminate his services.
In her response to the application, Kibirige notes that she didn’t terminate Obore’s services but only brought to his attention, findings of the systematic investigations by the Inspectorate of Government concerning his recruitment.
In her March 5, 2019 letter to Obore, Kibirige noted that investigations by the Inspector General of Government established that his recruitment was founded on an illegality.
“The report concludes among others that the recruitment of the director, communication and public affairs was founded on an illegality as it was in contravention of the Parliamentary Service (Staff) Regulations, 2001," the letter reads in part.
Adding that; ”In view of that finding by the IGG and the same having been brought to our attention, it follows that your employment as Director CPA in the Parliamentary Commission is based on an illegality and out to be reviewed. In the circumstances, it is apparent that your services will have to be terminated accordingly on terms to be agreed upon."
As a result, Obore ran to court seeking an interim injunction to block the Parliamentary Commission from terminating his services, which was granted. On Tuesday, the lawyer for the Parliamentary Commission, Sitina Cherotich asked the High court Civil Division presided over by Justice Henrietta Wolayo to dismiss Obore’s application, saying it was baseless.
She based her argument in a sworn affidavit by the clerk to parliament, Jane Kibirige dated April 16, 2019, saying her letter to Obore was very clear.
“The clerk to parliament cannot be faulted for communicating the likely consequences of the report by IGG," said Cherotich.
She said Obore has never even made a formal response to the letter save for petitioning court. Cherotich argued that Obore can’t seek a judicial review in the matter where no decision has been made.
Cherotich also noted that Obore didn’t present to court any evidence showing that there is a minute of the Parliamentary Commission where a decision was reached to terminate his services.
“My Lord the applicant says that he is still even working moreover after failing to reply to the letter. This application is premature and should be dismissed with costs," Cherotich told court.
However, Obore’s lawyer, Augustine Idoot, said according to their interpretation, Kibirige indeed terminated Obore’s services. He said that only thing that was left according to letter, is to discuss some issues like how his client would be paid gratuity.
Justice Wolayo adjourned the matter to June 19 when the main suit will be heard.
The Inspectorate of Government started investigating Obore’s recruitment after receiving information from a whistleblower that he didn’t meet the requirements for the job as advertised by parliament.
According to the 2015 advert by the Parliamentary Commission, the applicants for the job of director of CPA were expected to have a minimum of ten years’ experience in Public Service, degree in mass communication, communication studies, journalism or arts with communication and public relations and a master’s degree.
By the time Obore got the job in question, he had a bachelor’s degree of mass communication from Islamic University in Uganda and lacked the prerequisite experience since he had never worked in public service.