The High Court has issued an interim injunction staying the implementation of an order asking embattled Uganda Cooperative Alliance General Secretary Ivan Asiimwe and Board Chairperson Johnas Tweyambe to stay out of office until investigations into the current acrimony at the Cooperatives’ Body are completed.
Through their lawyers, Joseph Masitko and Akantorana Kobusingye, the duo had on 25th October 2019 applied to the High Court seeking a court order barring the Attorney General and the Registrar of Cooperatives from implementing a decision by the latter issued the previous day ordering them to step aside from their respective offices to allow investigations against the General Secretary Asiimwe to proceed unhindered.
Asiimwe is accused of misconduct, fraud, and abuse of office, and Tweyambe is accused of being his accomplice. The two are jointly accused of frustrating the proceeding of investigations into the alleged crimes.
In an October 24th 2019 letter, the Registrar of Cooperative Societies in the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives Joseph William Kitandwe noted that “Initial findings point to the chairperson of the board and General Secretary of UCA Ltd as being at the center of frustrating the proper conduct of business at UCA Ltd,” adding that “For purposes of conducting a fair and transparent investigation, the two officers are hereby directed to step aside until further notice.”
In their application to Court, the two challenged the credibility, legality, and validity of the Registrar’s letter ordering their suspension, arguing that it was tainted with “bias,” was unfair, high handed and irrational. They also argued that the decision was arrived at in breach of the Cooperatives Act, contravened the rules of natural justice, and asked court to set it aside.
Now, sitting in Kampala on Monday 28th October 2019, High Court presided over by Justice Andrew Bashaija granted the injunction, allowing Asiimwe and Tweyambe to stay in their respective offices at UCA until the main case against which they were evicted from office has been heard.
The order also bars the Attorney General and the Registrar of Cooperatives from conducting further investigations into the issues raised against Asiimwe as had been intimated by the October 24th letter.
But in the latest development, theCooperator has learned that the Attorney General has lodged in an appeal applying that the injunction granted on Monday be set-aside and the respondents – the Attorney General and the Registrar of Cooperatives be allowed to submit affidavits to the original application filed by Asiimwe and Tweyambe on October 25th.
It is not yet clear when the Attorney General’s application will be set for hearing. In the meantime, however, Asiimwe and Tweyambe remain in office. On Monday, theCooperator reported how the two, together with UCA treasurer Fr.Safari forced their way into office, even as they waited for an injunction staying their suspension, from the High Court.