Broke Judges Suspend Court Hearings

Chief Justice Benjamin Odoki
Chief Justice Benjamin Odoki

The Judiciary has today been forced to suspend hearing some cases due to lack of operational funds for the month of June.The money amounting to one billion shillings has not yet been released by the Ministry of Finance.

The announcement was made this afternoon by the Judiciary assistant spokesperson, Araali Muhirwa, while addressing the press at his chambers at Buganda Road Court in Kampala.

The implication of this suspension of cases will largely lead to an already increased case backlog.   The suspension will also mean that suspects will be denied their right to a fair and speedy trial as enshrined in the constitution.

The operational funds are also used to facilitate witnesses in terms of transport to court to testify against the suspects and also buying stationery materials like paper and pens.

On June 7, the Secretary to the Judiciary, Dorcus Okalany, in her internal memo to all Courts of Judicature, announced the suspension of the operational activities due to a shortfall of one billion shillings since the Finance Ministry had not released the funds.

Okalany noted that the funds that are available will be restricted to payments of consolidated staff allowances only.

On the way forward, Araali Muhirwa said the Judiciary has already informed the government about this problem to take an appropriate action.

The announcement comes just a few hours after the Anti Corruption Court in Kololo suspended hearing the corruption case against top Ministry of Public Service officials due to lack of funds to run the session.

Jane Abodo, a state attorney notified Sarah Langa, the Grade One of Magistrate of the Anti Corruption Court that prosecution had decided to suspend the trial of the 9 pension scam suspects because of lack of funds to facilitate witnesses.

The officials are Jimmy Lwamafa, the interdicted Permanent Secretary Ministry of Public Service, Christopher Obey, an accountant, Francis Lubega, the Information System Analyst and Stephen Kiwanuka Kunsa, the Director Research and Development. Others are Christopher Obey, the Principal Accountant, David Oloka Japians, a senior account assistant and Stephen Lwanga, the Accounts Assistant. Also on the list are Peter Ssajjabi, the Secretary East African Community Beneficiaries Association, Ishaka Sentongo, Assistant Manager Operations Cairo International Bank and Rahman Nakigozi Mugeere, the Compliance Officer, Cairo International Bank.

The suspects are accused of causing government a financial loss of over 165 billion shillings through the payment of 2,605 ghost pensioners between October 2009 and September 2012.

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