Uganda: FDC Wants Independent Body to Probe Corruption in Judiciary

The Opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) has called for an independent probe into alleged corruption in the judiciary.

The call followed the Chief Justice, Mr. Bart Katureebe setting up a task force of six members from the judiciary, to investigate allegation of corruption. The team headed by the Inspector of Courts, Ms Immaculate Busingye is expected to report back to Mr Katureebe by the end of September.

The Chief Justice earlier this month noted that the Judiciary is faced with unending allegations and he asked the new Permanent secretary Pius Bigirimana who assumed his new office this month to push for quick investigations.

Other members on the task force include Solomon Muyita, the senior communications officer, Vincent Mugabo public relations officer, Susan Abinyo, the registrar magistrates affairs and data management, Godfrey Kawesa, the president of Uganda Judicial Officers Association and Ayebare Tumwebaze, the assistant registrar in the Office of the Chief Registrar.

However, while addressing journalists at their offices in Najjanakumbi yesterday, the FDC spokesperson Mr Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda said that the judiciary should instead subject itself to an external investigation headed by credible lawyers in the country.

He said that the team Mr Katureebe has appointed will not be able to work independently, since they cannot investigate their bosses in case they are also implicated.

"Naming people who are junior staff to investigate fellow staff including their bosses is a cover up. What happens if the constituted team has to investigate their boss Mr Katureebe himself? Mr Nganda said.

"Without rationalizing this incident, the FDC urges Judiciary to subject itself to an external investigation headed by credible people such as Prof Fredrick Ssempebwa, Prof Fredrick Juuko and Prof Sylvia Tamale. We shall be able to get good works out of it," he added.

Judiciary has on several occasions been under public scrutiny with accusations of "selling justice" to Ugandans, which FDC said it is unacceptable.

Mr Nganda also said that the performance of the judiciary remains a big concern asserting that there are over 100,000 cases pending in the various courts.

The party also questioned the criteria used by court to hear cases asserting that there are no standard grounds for giving and denying bail. Adding that the probe should be constituted should look into that as well.

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