Uganda: Court Stops State House, Police Probe Against Judicial Officer

By Anthony Wesaka

The High Court has temporarily stopped the State House Anti-Corruption Unit and the police from investigating a judicial officer who is facing several charges.

Registrar Cissy Kawuma Mudhasi, formerly of Masaka High Court, got a sigh of relief yesterday, following interim orders by Justice Musa Ssekaana of the Kampala High Court stopping the Col Edith Nakalema-led anti-graft unit and the police from investigating her until the final determination of her main case.

Ms Mudhasi was interdicted last year by the Judiciary after she was accused of three offences, including producing substandard work and alleged abuse of judicial authority.

She was subsequently sent to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) for possible disciplinary action. "A temporary Injunction is issued restraining the ongoing investigations into the judicial work and duties of the applicant (Ms Mudhasi) by the Uganda Police Force and State House Anti-Corruption Unit respectively, pending hearing and final determination of the main cause or until further orders of this court. It is so ordered," Justice Ssekaana ruled.

Point of contention

In her court documents, Ms Mudhasi had contended that as the State House Anti-Corruption Unit and the police investigated her, the Judicial Service Commission was at the same time conducting parallel investigations against her.

This, she argued, has taken away her constitutional right to judicial immunity.

However, the Attorney General had argued that despite the ongoing investigations by JSC against the judicial officer, she snubbed police summons, prompting the latter to open up criminal charges against her.

"The actions of the Uganda Police jointly with the State House Anti-Corruption Unit, and the Judicial Service on the other hand, are dissimilar and as such, the principles of double jeopardy are not applicable," the Attorney General stated in response to the registrar's issues.

"The applicant (registrar) is culpable to judicial accountability as a judicial officer for anything ultra vires the judicial conduct and where her conduct is an outright criminal act, there is no judicial immunity," he added.

In his analysis, Justice Ssekaana said the case raises serious issues about the legality of the State House Anti-Corruption Unit and the police in investigating the judicial officer.

"The actions of the respondent's agents are a threat to the applicant's constitutional rights, this court as a custodian of the Constitution ought to issue orders that would ensure that the Constitution is not violated since the alleged violation will not be atoned for in damages or adequately compensated with any amount of money or earthly possessions," he ruled.

"In the result for the reasons stated herein above, this application succeeds and is allowed with costs in the cause," he added.

Background

Catalysts

According to last year's interdiction letter which was accompanied by a charge sheet submitted to JSC, Ms Mudhasi's offences included having issued one-sided orders in a case involving Saudha Namuleme and Masaka Municipal Local Government Council.

The registrar was also accused of issuing garnishee orders in cases involving Ram Engineering Limited, Makerere University and Stanbic Bank Limited.

It is also alleged that there was fraud of more than Shs3b belonging to Uganda Nurses and Midwives Council by Ram Engineering Company, following the orders issued by registrar Mudhasi without ascertaining whether the company owed anything from the nurses.

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