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AG orders Trade to rescind Kasigwa's appointment as UNBS boss

Eng James Nkamwesiga Kasigwa

Eng James Nkamwesiga Kasigwa

The Attorney General (AG) has advised against the appointment of Eng James Nkamwesiga Kasigwa as the executive director of Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS).

Deputy AG Jackson Kafuuzi Karugaba told the ministry of Trade, Industry, and Cooperatives to rescind Kasigwa's appointment and "abide by the laws".

The AG's intervention follows a petition by George Ahimbisibwe soon after Kasigwa's appointment effective May 13, despite reports that he did not score the highest during the interviews. The position fell vacant following the interdiction of David Livingstone Ebiru over corruption.

The petitioner through lawyers; Wanambugo & Company Advocates said the appointment of Kasigwa was illegal because he was not one of the top two candidates from the interview process recommended to the minister. The interviews featured three tests or assessments including a psychometric, written technical test and PowerPoint presentation and an oral interview - all totalling 100 points.

While the tests had different weights on the final result, the assessment guidelines stated that none of the assessments should be considered in isolation but rather wholesomely.

"This is the reason why the overall score if it is above the cut-off, 60 per cent, should be considered as a good basis for recommending a candidate for further consideration..." 

Documents from the assessment show that Fortunate Muyambi Benda scored 79.9 per cent, while Apollo Segawa scored 79.25, and Kasigwa 63.12 per cent respectively. The results sheet also shows that Ajer Basil got 61.46 per cent and Samson Akankiza Mpiira 60.46 per cent, while Joachim Charles Nkwanga was 46.74 per cent.

Despite five candidates scoring higher than the cut-off point, the standards council recommended to the minister only the top two. Ahimbisibwe sought to know why the candidate ranked third and not even on the recommendation list was the one appointed, contending that this violated the UNBS Act. On May 15, the Attorney General requested and received from the permanent secretary the interview report for the said position.

"We have studied the report and note that the 9th National Standard Council recommended to you the best two candidates as highlighted in the report...This means that there is no recommendation of James Nkamwesiga Kasigwa to the minister because the recommendation was in regard to the best two candidates" says the letter signed by Kafuuzi to the minister.

Previously, under Section 11 of the Act, the minister had the sole powers to appoint the executive director until the 2013 Amendment of the Act introduced a system of checks and balances where the appointment has to be done by the minister on the recommendation of the board.

"It is our considered view that the replacement of Section 11 of the Uganda National Bureau of Standards Act, Cap. 327 in the 2013 Amendment of the Act must have been intended to cure a given mischief," says the AG's letter.

He stresses the importance of the recommendation of the board in the process of the appointment of the executive director to avoid any space for mischief. Karugaba advises that any appointment that does not take into consideration the provisions of the law as amended is void and cannot stand.

"The purpose of this letter, therefore, is to advise you to pay strict adherence to the law as it stands."

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