Case files are piling at the Directorate of Public Prosecution following the absence of a substantive Director of Public Prosecution-DPP.
The position of the DP fell vacant recently after President Yoweri Museveni appointed Richard Buteera as a judge. His deputy Damalie Lwanga is also among the batch of freshly appointed judges which leaves the deputy DPP’s office vacant as well. As a result, many case files are pending as no case can be prosecuted or withdrawn without the authorization by the DPP.
Article 120 of the Constitution of Uganda Mandates the Directorate of Public Prosecution to sanction and withdraw charges before the court. However, the power to withdraw charges can only be exercised by the DPP him or herself. Other areas that need the presence of the DPP include consent to charges of incest, embezzlement and corruption among others.
Jane Okuo Kajuga, the DPP spokesperson says it is not easy to estimate the number of pending cases but the number is increasing with time.
Geoffrey Kazinda’s false accountability charge before the anti-corruption court is one such charge that requires the consent of the DPP. However, the case is pending as it can’t be amended without the consent of the DPP. The absence of the DPP has already been felt by the IGG’s office, which is mandated to prosecute corruption cases.
Muniira Ali, the IGG’s spokesperson says that they are handling some of the cases administratively in order to lower the case file backlog.
According to the constitution article 120, the Director of public prosecution must be appointed by the president on the recommendation of the Public service commission. Only people qualified to be high-court judges can assume the job.