3 December 2018

Uganda: We Shall Prosecute Corrupt Judges - Justice Katureebe

Serere — Chief Justice Bart Katureebe has asked the public to report all corrupt judges and magistrates for disciplinary action.

He has also urged the public to assess the performance of judicial officers looking at the number of cases they dispose of during their stay at the courts.

"If a magistrate is taking a bribe, report it. Don't say tebinkwatako (it's none of my business). You have been put in that position of responsibility to serve the country. Even if it is a judge, we shall weed you out. A judicial officer should be steady and firm," Justice Katureebe said, admitting that the Judiciary is ridden with problems symptomatic of corruption. He was speaking at a thanksgiving ceremony for Lira resident judge Alex Mackay Ajiji on Saturday at Serere District headquarters.

Justice Ajiji is among the newly appointed judges to the High Court.

"Symptomatic corruption in the judiciary reflects the corruption in this country even in the highest levels of government. Members of Parliament, let us get wisdom to govern Ugandans fairly. When you go to Parliament, this should not be a source of wealth but serve the people," he said.

He explained that a corrupt judicial system affects the legitimacy of a sitting government.

"People do not trust investing in the economy which has a corrupt judiciary because they lack confidence of where they will seek redress if other arms of government don't treat them fairly," he said.

Citing Kenya where the Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu was this year arrested at her office in the Supreme Court over alleged corruption, Mr Katureebe said in the judiciary, there are individuals who think it is a place they will get rich quickly.

Justice Katureebe praised Mr Ajiji for being hard working.

According to Justice Katureebe, Justice Ajiji, who was once his personal assistant, has reduced the case backlog in Lira. He urged other judges and magistrates to follow suit.

The thanksgiving ceremony was attended by the Deputy Chief Justice, Owiny-Dollo, Principal Judge Yorokamu Bamwine, eight High Court judges and several other judicial officers and lawyers.

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