The Attorney General’s Chambers headed by Kiryowa Kiwanuka and former head of the State House Anti-Corruption Unit Col. Edith Nakalema, who was sued in her personal capacity missed Court when the Constitutional Court gave directives on disbanding the Unit.
Henry Twinomuhwezi, the deputy Registrar of the Constitutional Court, directed all parties in the matter to file joint scheduling notes before kickoff of the hearing.
He set May 20, 2022 as the date when all parties will appear in court to agree on the issues to be determined by the Constitutional Court.
The court decision followed the appearance of the petitioners and their lawyers led by Emmanuel Kigenyi of Opira and Company Advocates in the absence of the Respondents or their representatives.
Private citizens led by city lawyer Jeremiah Keeyo Mwanje, Law Development Center student Justus Akampurira, Thomas Bagonza, a student of law and businessman Darius Muteesa petitioned the Constitutional Court challenging the legality of the State House Anti-Corruption unit.
The petitioners claimed that the actions of the Unit are illegal, inconsistent with paragraphs 11(i) and v(i) of the National Objectives and Directive principles of the State Policy and articles 1,20,23,27,28,44,99(3) of the Constitution.
They asked the Constitutional Court to declare that the State House Anti-Corruption Unit is not constitutionally empowered to investigate, arrest and detain any suspect because such powers were given to Uganda Police through the Criminal Investigation Department or the office of the Inspector General of government.
They also asked Court to declare that the Unit is not Constitutionally empowered to order any government agency created under the Constitution to investigate, arrest, and detain suspects since they are not stipulated in the laws of Uganda.
They beseeched Court to declare that all investigations, arrests, detentions made by Col. Nakalema, who was sent for further studies by the Commander in Chief president Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, as illegal and in breach of the Constitution.
The petitioner further asked Court to disband the Unit with immediate effect because President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni didn’t follow the laws when he was creating it in 2018.
They also implored court to order the 1st Respondent, (Attorney General), to be ordered to release all detainees arrested and in custody on orders of Col. Nakalema.
“Col. Nakalema’s activities and those generally of the State House Anti-Corruption Unit have extended to granting something akin to police bond in instances where she sees fit to do so and where her investigations are still being carried on,” Akampulira stated in his affidavit filed in Court.
He insisted that the actions of Col. Nakalema parading arrested suspects before the media contravenes the doctrine of presumption of innocence and kills the reputation of the suspects in the public.
Akampulira added in his affidavit that Col. Nakalema uses public servants like army officers, lawyers and other security detectives to execute her illegalities including arresting suspects, and upon arresting them, they are subjected to torture as a way of getting evidence from them.
He accused Col. Nakalema of illegally using government funds through State house to run the activities of the agency which is illegal.
However, in their defense filed in Court through an affidavit sworn by Bernard Kinyera Ochaya, a principle Inspectorate Officer in the Inspectorate of Government attached to State House Anti-Corruption Unit and Israel Edwin Ochwo the head of legal, the Unit denied all the allegations and asked Court to dismiss the petition with costs.
They both denied that the Unit interferes with the powers of the Inspector General of Government which is Constitutionally mandated to investigate all forms of corruption in the country and the powers of the police’s Criminal Investigations Department (CID) who are supposed to investigate crimes.
The respondents told Court that they have not taken the powers of the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) to prosecute the suspected corrupt people as the petitioners allege.
They further told Court that they don’t have a detention cell where they illegally keep suspects and torture them as alleged by the petitioner.
By Sengooba Alirabaki