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Minister Mwebesa describes Trade PS Ssali as a “Toxic” leader unprofessionally chasing workers

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The Minister of Trade, Francis Mwebesa, has described the Permanent Secretary (PS), Geraldine Ssali as a toxic leader having been involved in forcing many officers into early retirement.

In a letter dated April 9, 2024, addressed to the Head of Public Service, Lucy Nakyobe, Mwebesa implored her to take action against the errant accounting officer who unnecessarily involves herself in everyone’s affairs at the ministry, neglecting her primary duties as the PS.

“I regret to inform you that due to the unprofessional conduct of the Ministry’s affairs by the Permanent Secretary, Ms. Geraldine Ssali, she has created a highly toxic working environment that has significantly hampered the performance of staff at the Ministry,” expressed Mwebesa.

The Minister elucidated the violence perpetrated against the senior legal officer, Sandra Aneno last Friday, by the PS and her bodyguard, Gerald Ouunyu.

Following the assault, Geraldine proceeded to interdict the legal officer from her office.

Mwebesa noted, “Since assuming office, she has orchestrated forced transfers of several officers from the Ministry, particularly key positions such as Heads of Planning and Policy, Human Resource, Procurement, and Accounts. The detrimental working atmosphere has prompted some officers to seek early retirement.”

Detailing the altercation to Nakyobe, Mwebesa observed, “You may have noticed recent newspaper reports regarding the assault on the Senior Legal Officer, a situation that Ssali is attempting to conceal through misinformation!” He further noted, “The officer reported this incident to the Police, and there is an ongoing criminal investigation into the matter.”

Mwebesa contended that the Permanent Secretary “unjustly interdicted the Senior Legal Officer without following the required due process!”

According to due process, Aneno should first appear before a committee to defend herself against Ssali’s allegations before any disciplinary action can be taken against her.

Officials asserted that Ssali cannot serve as both accuser, investigator, and judge in the matter.

Mwebesa also informed Nakyobe that Ssali “has not exhibited prudence in her actions as an Accounting Officer.”

The Minister cited delays in remitting subventions to agencies, which he claimed “negatively impact the implementation of their work plans.”

Consequently, the Minister expressed his frustration to Nakyobe, stating, “I find it challenging to collaborate with her (Ssali) to effectively execute the Ministry’s mandate and the NRM manifesto. Given the aforementioned issues, I recommend that action be taken against her.”

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