The Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs has acknowledged that it received a sexual harassment complaint from one of the Senior staff against the Deputy Solicitor General, Christopher Gashirabake and that investigations into the allegations are ongoing.
Last week, Samantha Mwesigye, a Senior State Attorney came out to publicly accuse her supervisor, Gashirabake, of sexually harassing her for as long as a decade.
“The decision to do this was neither easy nor rushed. It was taken after careful consideration of the possible implications (both positive and adverse), and consultations with friends and confidants,” she said.
She says she was compelled to go public because “none of the formal channels or government institutions to which I have lodged informal and formal complaints, with cogent evidence, impregnable documentation and other forms of proof to support my case have demonstrated the will or capacity to investigate, take remedial actions or otherwise provide adequate recourse to my situation”.
“At best, I have only received lip service and at worst, been blamed, ostracized and/or alienated,” Samantha says.
When she put the concern to her “tormentor” through an email in which she narrated the terrible experience she has been through and begged him as a parent to stop his advances, his response was “Noted. Was this missive required?” she said.
In a press statement issued Tuesday, the Solicitor General, Francis Atoke has said that indeed, the Ministry received a formal complaint from Samantha regarding the alleged sexual harassment and that a committee was constituted on February 6, 2019 to carry out a probe.
According to Atoke, the formation of the committee was in line with the Employment (Sexual Harassment) Regulations 2012. The committee is chaired by the Administrator General while the other members include senior officials in the Ministry of Justice: Secretary Law Council, Acting Under Secretary for Finance and Administration, and the Assistant Commissioner for Human Resource Management.
“I am aware that the committee has since reviewed the evidence that Ms. Samantha Mwesigye submitted to my office vis-a-vis the Employment Act 2006 and the Employment Regulations,” the Solicitor General said in the statement.
He adds that on April 29, the committee requested the complainant to submit in additional evidence, if any, related to the allegations, which Samantha duly provided on May 5. The evidence was in form of emails and WhatsApp messages, Atoke said.
“The committee has similarly written to the accused to tender in his response to the allegations”.
The Ministry of Justice has taken every effort to address the allegations through the established structures and will continue to handle the matter to its conclusion, says the Solicitor General.
He said the Ministry is firm that the committee handling the issue will do a thorough job and that “as soon as the investigations are complete, a report will be submitted to the top Management of the Ministry with recommendations for appropriate action”.
The Solicitor has however asked the public and the stakeholders in the matter to allow the committee do its work without undue influence or prejudice.