Special Reports

CONFESSION: I Got Only Shs 11m After Being Electrocuted on Duty

Bamugemereire before and after the accident. In set is his Identity card at Muttico Tech

A former employee of Muttico Technical Services is seeking Shs 550 million in compensation for the dreadful accident that has condemned him to clutches.

Muttico, drug http://corcoranproductions.com/wp-content/plugins/woocommerce/includes/admin/class-wc-admin-setup-wizard.php which deals in electrical, civil and mechanical works, was contracted by Umeme in electricity distribution in Uganda.

Simon Bamugemereire, 32, a former lines assistant at Muttico in the Kampala Metropolitan area says he fell off an electric pole after being electrocuted while on duty in October 2014.

According to a medical report by Dr. Waiswa Gonzaga, an orthopedic Surgeon at Mulago National Referral Hospital which ChimpReports has seen, Bamugemereire “suffered an open head injury, fracture dislocation of the right hip joint and dysfunction of the right sciatic nerve.”

After successive surgeries, the report says, it was deduced that the “sciatic nerve palsy and the hip joint fracture dislocation were permanent injuries” that are not expected to improve.

“The permanent incapacity given the two defects is assessed at 70 percent loss of function,” Dr. Waiswa wrote in the report.

ChimpReports’ Paul Mugume caught up with Bamugemereire at his residence in Mpererwe, Kanyanya, Kampala District to investigate the matter.

Bamugemereire who can only stand while supporting himself on a pair of old clutches stays in a rented house with his wife and two kids. Of the two kids, the older one aged 12 years is currently in Primary Four while the younger one of 3 years has not started school due to lack of funds.

He can hardly walk or stand for 20 minutes and even sits with difficulty for a long time.

How the Accident Happened

Bamugemereire narrated that on Tuesday, October 2014, he was ordered by his then supervisor Moses Mulindwa to climb an electric pole at Kabojja Junior School in Kololo to remove an earth wire, which is normally installed before the poles are erected.

“Normally, if the poles have been erected already, the earth wire is always removed using an operating stick which Muttico doesn’t have. Mr. Mulindwa however instructed me to climb and remove it manually, assuring me that power had been cut off,” he said in Luganda.

“While I was climbing, I reached the crossing wires and had to remove my belt so as to proceed and go up. I tried to support myself on the wires well assured that power had been cut but on touching with my torn gloves, I was struck and that’s the last I remember from that day.”

He said he regained consciousness after being admitted at Kampala Hospital where he underwent treatment from October 14 to October 27.

Bamugemereire says the act of his supervisor, ordering him to climb the pole with power switched on shows that the company (Muttico Tech) had an intention to get him killed.

Compensation

Bamugemereire says he was asked not to resign so that he could get an office job that wouldn’t require him to stand and walk long distances but the doctor’s recommendation had indicated that he was rendered helpless and unfit to do any job.

Upon recovery, he said, the company in consultation with the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) Labor Office resolved to pay him a compensation fee of Shs11m on top of meeting his hospital bills.

He was asked to hand in a resignation letter which he did on October 15, 2015.

“They paid me Shs 4m in cash, and later paid me Shs 7,680,000 after three months. I was desperate, having learnt that I was never going to be able to work, so I accepted the payment without seeking counsel,” he noted.

“Upon seeking counsel, I was advised that the compensation was not enough based on the magnitude of my injury and the circumstances under which I was injured. Currently, I am unable to do anything for my family which solely depends on me. I am being evicted from the house I stay. My landlord says I am crippled and wonders where I will get money to pay my rent,” wept Bamugemereire.

“Currently, I am depending on a few family members who can afford to send me some money for food but I can’t rely on them for my rent and my kids’ school fees. These were never my worries before this accident happened.”

Demands Shs 550 million

Bamugemereire, through his lawyers of Arthur Mwebesa and Company Advocates has written to Muttico Technical Services seeking compensation of Shs 550 million, arguing that the money would enable him live a normal life without work since his injuries and incapacity are permanent.

In a letter dated July 25 2016, which ChimpReports has seen, Bamugemereire’s lawyers also warned that failure to adhere to their demands would leave them with no option but to seek redress in court.

“Should you fail, reject, or ignore to adhere to this demand, you’ll leave us with no option but to seek legal redress for compensation together with damages, interest and costs,” the letter reads.

Muttico Responds

When asked about the claims, Moses Muwalampye, the Managing Director of Muttico Technical Services said that the company has done all it can to compensate the victim but he keeps demanding for more money.

“We are tired of that man. We paid him money, he ate it and now he is coming back asking for more,” Muwalampye told ChimpReports on phone.

“We paid him his compensation of Shs11m as was directed by the labor office and he left the company. Why is he not telling the truth? We have the papers which came from KCCA and he signed on them himself.”

Asked about the alleged offer to give Bamugemereire an office job on recovery, Muwalampye said that there was no office they could give to “a person who did not go to school.”

Earlier in March, another employee of Muttico Technical services, Brian Gavamukulya was electrocuted while installing a transformer at Kasiiso trading center in Luwero District.

Gavamukulya sustained several burns all over the body when power was erroneously restored after a planned shutdown.

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