7 March 2019

Uganda: Makerere HR Director Disowns Affidavit in Nyanzi Case

The director human resources directorate of Makerere University has denied contents of his own affidavit against suspended researcher Dr Stella Nyanzi.

Andrew Abunyang was on Wednesday appearing before Justice Lydia Mugambe in regards to the suit in which Nyanzi sued the university challenging Makerere for failing to implement the tribunal orders of reinstating her back in her position.

The Staff Appeals Tribunal presided over by George Omunyokol in October last year declared Nyanzi's suspension as illegal. The tribunal had also ordered that Nyanzi be paid all her salary arrears in addition to reinstatement at the institution which the institution failed to honour.

Court was shocked when Abunyang continuously asked for parts of his affidavit to be changed. In his affidavit signed on December 10, 2018, Abunyang says Nyanzi's contract with Makerere ended on October 17, 2017.

But during cross-examination on Wednesday, Abunyang asked to amend the date to October 17, 2018, citing that it was a typing error. When Nyanzi's lawyer Isaac Semakadde asked Abunyang when the motion was taken to court, Abunyang said he couldn't remember.

"I do not remember when the motion was taken to court," he said.

When further asked if he recalls seeing Nyanzi's affidavit, he said no. Semakadde then asked Abunyang how this could be.

"In the first paragraph of your affidavit, you clearly say that you are writing in response to Dr Nyanzi's affidavit. So, how can you respond to something that you did not see?"

Abunyang while under oath told court that he had not written his affidavit.

"I did not write the affidavit. It was drafted by someone in the legal department and brought to me for signing. I signed the document on 10th December 2018."

Abunyang did not specify whether he read the affidavit before signing it and added that he does not recall which officer in the legal department brought him the affidavit to sign.

According to order 19 of the Civil Procedure Rules, affidavits should include facts which are known to the deponent or person who wrote and signed it. If proved that the contents of an affidavit are not known to the deponent or are not his, court can look at the act as fraudulent in nature.

Abunyang also confessed that Nyanzi's extended suspension was against the human resource manual of the university that provides only 4 weeks suspension as disciplinary proceedings go on. Nyanzi has been on suspension for more than one year. She was suspended in 2016 and later in 2017.

Justice Mugambe adjourned the case to April 17.

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