By Siraje Lubwama
Kampala — Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) has told court that it has no financial capacity to pay more than Shs30 billion to its 1,045 former employees whose contract was terminated five years ago.
The city authority officials have instead asked the central government to come to their rescue.
"My lord, we seek for a short adjournment to meet with the Attorney General and request him to tell the central government to pay the former workers because KCCA currently has no financial capacity to do it," Mr Mike Okua, the KCCA director of legal affairs, told justice Lydia Mugambe during a court session recently.
KCCA's declaration comes after a one year's consent judgment where the authority agreed to pay the workers all their entitlements and terminal benefits as calculated under the Local Government Act (LGA).
The affected workers had their running contracts terminated in 2012 as the council was being elevated to the status of an authority.
The former employees through their lawyers; Geoffrey Nangumya & Paul Tusuubira Advocates, petitioned High Court (civil division); alleging among other complaints that they were illegally terminated and subjected to forced retirement from public service.
In September last year, the Office of the President intervened after the former workers had earlier petitioned Ms Beti Kamya, the minister for KCCA, accusing the authority of refusing to sign a consent judgment agreed by the two parties in April last year.
Under the agreement, the petitioners' terminal benefits were supposed to be paid in accordance with Section 61 of the LGA.
The ex-workers told Ms Kamya that much as their lawyers had endeavoured to prepare a consent judgment in time, KCCA officials had declined to sign it.
"This is to request you to advise the honourable minister why the said consent order is not being signed in order to give relief to the petitioners who are rightly aggrieved," Ms Clare Alaki, an official in the President's Office, wrote to the KCCA executive director, Ms Jennifer Musisi, on September 20 on behalf of the secretary, Office of the President.
In the same letter, Ms Alaki reminded Ms Musisi that the civil procedure rules provide that since the consent judgment was agreed by the parties, there was no reason why this matter should proceed to trial.
In their petition, the former workers successfully argued that upon their termination of their services, they were paid under the public service regulations, which was unfair.
After filing the consent order, court was asked to determine whether the complainants are entitled to be paid under KCCA salary rates and terminal benefits for the 17 months they worked under KCCA.
Justice Mugambe later ruled that these terminated workers should be paid the new salaries of the KCCA the period of 17 months they worked for under the Authority.
The ex-workers sued the minister of Public Service, the, Ms Musisi, the Attorney General (AG) and the secretary Public Service Commission, seeking more than Shs30 billion.
In April last year presiding High court judge Mugambe after consent where KCCA and AG agreed to pay the ex-workers, lawyer Tusuubira preceded the filing of the consent order. The matter resumes on June 8.