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Court Stops Police, State House Anti-Corruption Unit From Investigating Judicial Officer Over Abuse of Office

The High Court  has issued a temporary injunction restraining the ongoing investigations into the judicial work and duties of Cissy Kawuma Mudhasi  by the Uganda Police Force and State  House Anti-Corruption Unit  pending hearing and final determination of the main cause or until further orders of the same court.  The injunction was issued with costs to the respondent.

The ruling was issued by Justice Musa Ssekaana on July28, 2021.

In her Application NO.470 OF 2021 (arising from Miscellaneous Cause NO.186 of 2021), Cissy Kawuma Mudhasi  sued the Attorney General, praying to the Court to issue a temporary injunction  restraining the ongoing criminal investigations into her judicial work and duties by Uganda Police Force and State House Anti-Corruption Unit vide reference number  CID HQS GEF 09/2020 and E/308/20 respectively pending hearing and final determination of the main suit.

The applicant was represented by Fred Muwema and Kevin Charles Nsubuga  whereas the respondent was represented Jeffrey Atwine  (Principal State Attorney).

This application was based on grounds set out in the affidavit of Cissy Kawuma Mudhasi (the applicant) as well as that of Robert Mudhasi which states that the applicant filed a suit-main cause for enforcement of rights seeking to challenge the impugned criminal investigations into her judicial work which are being conducted by Uganda Police Force and the State House Anti-Corruption Unit.

The applicant sought declarations and orders that the act or conduct of Uganda Police Force and the State House AntiCorruption unit of subjecting her to arrest, interrogation  and continuous reporting and release on bond in respect of her judicial work, is a purge to the sanctity of judicial office and it contravenes and is inconsistent with Articles 2, 20, 28, 44, 128 and 147 of the Constitution.

Cissy Kawuma Mudhasi through her lawyers also argued that the act and conduct of Uganda Police Force and State House Anti Corruption Unit of opening and maintaining criminal investigations under reference GEF/09/2020 and E/308/20 respectively, with regard to judicial acts of the applicant, usurps the powers of the Judicial Service Commission to investigate complaints against and discipline judicial officers contrary to and in contravention of Articles 2, 20, 28, 44, 128 and 147 of the Constitution.

“The act and conduct of Uganda Police Force and State House Anti-Corruption Unit of opening and maintaining criminal investigations under reference GEF/09/2020 and E/308/20 respectively for alleged abuse of office, deprives the applicant of her Constitutional immunity from suit for acts or omissions done in exercise of judicial power and is inconsistent with Articles 2, 20, 28, 44, 128(4) and 147 of the Constitution,” Mudhasi’s lawyers argued.  

They also stated that the establishment, continued existence and operation of the State House Anti-Corruption Unit outside the established legal framework under an Act of Parliament while drawing funds from the consolidated fund, is inconsistent with Articles 2, 20, 28, 44, 79, 128, 153, and 154 of the Constitution of Uganda.

They further argued that the applicant is required to report every week to both Uganda Police Force and the State House Anti-Corruption Unit to attend to any required interrogations and police bond is extended when it is due.

“At the same time judicial Service Commission which is constitutionally mandated to discipline judicial officers is conducting parallel disciplinary proceedings against the applicant in respect of the same judicial work complained of. Since 24th June 2020, the applicant has been under interdiction for offences of alleged abuse of judicial authority and producing poor standard of work and formal charges were forwarded to Judicial Service Commission for investigation and management,” the applicant stated.

The applicant argued that she was suffering double jeopardy of parallel investigations which has taken away her constitutional right to judicial immunity from suit and have visited immeasurable harm to her person.

In opposition to the Application, the Respondent through No. 33086 D/Sgt Mugerwa Charles of CID Headquarters-as an Investigator among a team of Police Officers assigned by the Director CID of Uganda Police Force, to handle complaints  channeled to CID by the State House Anti-Corruption Unit and filed an affidavit in reply wherein they vehemently opposed the grant of the orders being sought stating that the applicant was never required to report both to Uganda Police CID Headquarters and the State House Anti-Corruption Unit, but only at the CID office based at Parliamentary building and that the applicant absconded to report on police bond for a long period now and has never taken steps to explain her whereabouts or the reasons for her abscondment.

“The applicant has never been arrested, she merely reported to answer police summons wherein she was lawfully interrogated by the Uganda Police Force personnel and thereafter was immediately granted Police bond,” the respondent argued, adding: “That the actions of opening and maintaining criminal investigations under

GEF 09/2020 and E/308/20 usurped the powers of the Judicial Service Commission as these actions by the Uganda Police Force and the State House Anti-Corruption Unit aim at prosecuting the applicant for the criminal acts she committed unlike the mandate which the Judicial Service Commission is conducting.”

The Attorney General further stated that the establishment, continued existence and operation of the State House Anti-Corruption Unit is duly created under Article 99(4) of the Constitution to receive corruption related complaints on behalf of His Excellency the President and channel them to the duly mandated agencies to handle them.

“The actions of Uganda Police Force jointly with State House Anti-Corruption Unit and the Judicial Service Commission on the hand are dissimilar and as such the principles of double jeopardy are not applicable. The applicant is culpable to judicial accountability as a judicial officer for anything ultra vires the judicial conduct and where her conduct is an outright criminal act there is no judicial immunity,” the respondent argued.

However, after weighing arguments of both sides, Justice Musa Ssekaana concurred with the applicant (Cissy Kawuma Mudhasi).

“In the result for the reasons stated herein above this application succeeds and is allowed with costs in the cause,” Justice Ssekaana ruled.

He added: “The order granted is in the following terms; A temporary injunction issues to restraining the ongoing investigations into the judicial work and duties of the Applicant by the Uganda Police Force and State House Anti-Corruption Unit vide reference number CID HQS GEF 09/2020 and E/308/20 respectively pending hearing and final determination of the main cause or until further orders of this court. It is so ordered.”

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