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Museveni Announces Tax Waiver On Prosecutors’ Salaries

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has offered a  tax waiver on salaries of State  prosecutors following their repeated demands to have them exempted from paying taxes.

The President announced this on Friday evening while attending the 6th Joan Kagezi Memorial Lecture in Munyonyo which was organized under the theme “Organized Crimes and the Necessity for Witness Protection” where he was the Chief Guest.

According to Museveni, Prosecutors led by the Director of Public Prosecutions Jane Frances Abodo have in the past been demanding to have their taxes waived just like the other players in the  justice system especially the Uganda Police Force and the Judicial officers.

Museveni said although he has ordered for the scrapping of this direct tax, the Prosecutors will be indirectly paying taxes imposed on commodities, goods and services they use in day today life .

The President joked that he knows some of the male Prosecutors like drinking beer and the ladies are in love with perfumes and therefore there is nothing for nothing and he will therefore obtain taxes from them when they are purchasing such goods.

The DPP Abodo had earlier intimated that the salary waiver was to start effective the coming financial Year 2023/2024  in July.

Kagezi who was being remembered today  was murdered in cold blood on the  March 30th 2015 while on duty on the 28th of April 2023 and to date no suspect has ever been arrested in relation to her murder.

Kagezi was the Prosecutor who was trying the suspects involved in the July 11th 2010 bombing (terrorism) where more than 70 people were killed as they watched World Cup Finals in Lugogo and in Kabalagala.

On this, Museveni has blamed the Uganda Police Force for failure to apprehend Kagezi’s killers saying that they were known immediately but police failed to take action and expose them using any method.

He added that recently he met the New CID Director Tom Magambo regarding Kagezi murder and that he knows some information about it.

Museveni has added that for them as government they have continued to pursue the bigger group of Kagezi’s killers the Allied Democratic Forces-ADF in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo and they are not about to stop fighting these terrorists until they reach where the deceased is.

He explained however that police has been relaxed to hunt for the direct killers.

President Museveni has also used the same platform to speak tough against corrupt government officials and applauded the DPP for  being harsh and continuing to Prosecute them.

According to Museveni, those corrupt government officials must go to jail , pay a refund to the government for whatever they have stolen  and also lose their jobs as a consequence.

On her Part, the DPP has rechoed the need to bridge understaffing gaps within her office saying that they are overwhelmed with work as only 300 Prosecutors   who have to tackle thousands of criminal cases before the Courts of law country wide.

The DPP has further decried absence  of  a witness protection law which she attributes  to threatening, interfering and displacing state witness specifically in organized crimes such as Terrorism and Human trafficking.

This,the DPP said has overtime affected prosecutorial processes such as investigations, identifying witnesses,securing their physical safety and the Prosecution of cases.

She explained that in cases that are at an advanced stage, witnesses will claim contrary to their prior statements. She said they become refractory or flipped up witnesses pleading lack of personal knowledge,lack of current recollection, testify facts that are less than helpful,neutral or even damaging to the Prosecution Case.

According to Abodo therefore, it is suggested that with the prevalence of serious and organized crimes in Uganda, witness intimidation is fast becoming one of the most ever present and menacing problems faced by the office of the DPP.

She said therefore at times witnesses need psycho social support to recover from psychological problems they experience as witnesses.

The Chief of Legal Services in the Uganda People’s Defense Forces Professor Brigadier Godard Busingye says its not only the office of the Public of Prosecutions that needs to protect the witnesses but also the army in their courts martials.

Busingye explained that the Court Martials also have sophisticated cases like those handled by the office of the DPP.

-URN

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