Uganda: Lawyer Contests CJ Anti-Graft Team

The six-member taskforce recently set up by Chief Justice Bart Katureebe to investigate alleged corruption in the Judiciary has been challenged before the High Court in Kampala for allegedly being incompetent.

Mr Jackson Ntwatwa, a lawyer, contends that the taskforce does not have any legal mandate to investigate corruption cases/complaints, adding that some of the members appointed are not "clean."

The petitioner further contends that the appointment of the taskforce is a waste of resources since after the investigations, they will forward their findings to the police that will commence fresh investigations.

The team, appointed on August 8, is headed by Ms Immaculate Busingye, the inspector of courts.

Other members include Mr Vincent Mugabo (public relations officer), Ms Susan Abinyo (Registrar Magistrates Affairs), Mr Godfrey Kawesa (president Uganda Judicial Officers Association), Mr Ayebare Tumwebaze (assistant registrar in CR's office) and Mr Solomon Muyita (senior communications officer).

"The taskforce... is demeaning in that there are several well-established committees and commissions in the Judiciary that is to say the disciplinary committee, Inspectorate of Courts, the Judicial Service Commission with capacity to investigate the said alleged corruption allegations," the August 9 law suit reads in part.

The taskforce, which intends to commence its investigations with immediate effect, is expected to hand over its report findings to the Chief Justice by September 30.

By press time yesterday, the Attorney General, who is the respondent in this matter, had not yet filed his defence on behalf of the members.

Petition

Mr Jackson Ntwatwa contends that since all the taskforce members are at the level of a registrar, they will not be able to summon judges of the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court in case they are accused of corruption, hence wase of resources. He wants court to declare that the taskforce is interfering with the constitutional mandate of the Inspector General of Government, Judicial Service Commission and Directorate of Criminal Investigations.

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