July 24, 2013

Anti Corruption Court Magistrates to be Re-deployed

Four magistrates attached to the Anti Corruption Court are to be re-deployed to other courts countrywide, following the recent Constitutional Court ruling that stayed all the criminal proceedings that they were handling and have since rendered them jobless.

The directive on the re-deployment of the magistrates is contained in a July 22 letter authored by Principal Judge, Yorokamu Bamwine.

The affected magistrates include; Irene Akankwasa (Chief Magistrate), Sarah Langa Siu (Grade One), Dorothy Lwanga Ssempala (Grade One) and Michael Lagara(Grade One).

The Principal Judge, Justice Yorokamu Bamwine authored the letter redeploying the staff
The Principal Judge, Justice Yorokamu Bamwine authored the letter redeploying the Magistrates

Commenting on the way forward about the proceedings at the Anti graft court following the constitutional ruling, the Principal Judge said they had agreed that all corruption related cases for a mean time, be handled by magistrates in their respective areas of operation.

Previously, all corruption cases from all over the country were directed to the Anti Corruption Court based in Kololo, Kampala.

“Magistrates should handle corruption related cases arising out of their jurisdiction in accordance with the provisions of the Magistrates Courts Act, the Trial on Indictment Act and any other enabling law,” Mr Bamwine said in his July 22 letter.

Bamwine said the measures take effect in the interim pending the disposal by the Constitutional Court of the Constitutional Court petition No.2 of 2013, David Wesley Tusingwire Vs the Attorney General, or until further guidance.

On July 12, the Constitutional Court stayed all the criminal proceedings arising from the Chief Magistrates and Grade One Magistrate attached to the Anti Corruption Division of the High Court, until the substantive petition challenging the composition of the magistrates’ court is determined.

Tusingwire is challenging the inclusion of magistrates in the Anti-corruption Court which is a division of the High Court.

While temporarily suspending the operations of the court, a panel of three justice led by Acting Chief Justice, Kavuma, noted that their decision will not have any effect on already decided cases and that only the continuing cases should be stayed until the substantive petition is disposed of.

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