Corruption in the Judiciary cannot be simply legislated away, former Principal Judge of the High Court, James Ogoola (in featured photo) has said.
Appearing before the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee on Tuesday, where he had appeared to submit his views on the Administration of Judiciary Bill 2018, Ogoola said Uganda has to go back to the basics; teach moral values to children if corruption is to be dealt with decisively.
The Bill seeks to cater for retirement benefits of the Judicial Officers, with proposal to have retiring judicial officers leave with their full benefits.
The bill also seeks to provide for the effective and efficient administration of the judiciary by enhancing chapter 8 of the constitution and those supporting the Bill argue that it will be critical at uprooting corruption in the Judiciary.
“Corruption is monster that you cannot legislate about. You can bring 20 Bills in this House about corruption, I don’t know how many we have, that in itself will not end corruption. What will take away corruption is different. Let us do that ourselves, where is Uganda today? What is the new generation? What are the values of this new generation. It is money,” the Justice said.
He was responding to a question raised by Kaberamaido County MP, Veronica Bichetero MP on whether the Bill would be critical at reducing corruption in the Judiciary.
Ogoola told the Committee of his experience while joining legal practice where he came from Dar es Salam University, did an interview and was earning Shs1,000 a month. He said lawyers, doctors and engineers were the highest paid people earning Shs12,000 a year.
Ogoola added that he used Shs1,000 to pay all his bills and that was the same amount he used to relax every evening en route to his home and would at times sleep without dinner, but alcohol.
The retired Justice argued that there is need to teach these values in families and schools, and revealed he is glad to be out of the corrupt infested Judiciary.
He said that there is no way Judiciary alone can be pinned on the corruption but the vice cuts across to Police, Parliament among other government agencies.
In his submission, the retired Justice argued that Judges could be corrupt for many reasons including uncertainty of what they would do after retirement and blamed this on the fact that Judges are not allowed to do anything in life except judge.
“They are not allowed to socialize freely; they can’t practice law, run a shop. They have no other source of income except salary from the Judiciary. An ordinary person could be tempted to tip where they shouldn’t,” Ogoola argued.
“… It would be wrong to say that the Judiciary isn’t corrupt. It is corrupt, horribly corrupt. I am so glad I am now retired and not part of it. When I used to be Principal Judge walking on the street, I say to myself, now everybody was saying that is my money walking,” Ogoola said.