Just hours after the Judiciary through the Chief Justice Bert Katureebe bashed Justice Catherine Bamugemereire for accusing his institution of corruption, the Land Commission iron lady has fired back.
Katureebe who was flanked by the Principle Judge Yorokam Bamwine addressed journalists about Bamugemereire’s last Friday Press statement, which singled out judges in land fraud, saying she (Bamugemereire) had voiced her concerns in a wrong forum.
“The judiciary however, is concerned about the mode used by the Commission to communicate matters of such serious nature. We would have expected the Commission to communicate finding of such a serious nature in form of an interim report to the President, not press release,” Katureebe noted.
He further said the role of the Commission is to investigate and make recommendations to the appointing authority in this case the president and such corrupt official should have been indicated in such report.
He said the judiciary as the third arm of government would also have used that opportunity read such recommendations and act on its officials by first giving them a right to respond to them instead of shaming them before the public.
Katureebe however promised to look into Bamugemereire’s complaints and take appropriate actions against his judicial officers who have been singled out as having acted outside the law.
Katureebe was supported by Bamwine who is mandated to supervise all the high Court Judges.
Bamwine said the mistakes done by few judicial officers cannot be vested on the entire judiciary.
At same time, city lawyer Allan Musoke accused Bamugemereire’s Commission of wasting taxpayers money.
Musoke who works with senior counsel Godfrey Lule of Sebalu, Lule and Company Advocates told Journalists that the Commission doesn’t have any powers above the judiciary so it can’t stop a judicial officer from executing his/her mandate on a matter it investigating.
He revealed that in all the matters of forest reserve and other protected area, National Forest Authority (NFA) was represented and only failed to convince the judges that indeed the said land was theirs.
Musoke wondered why a judicial officer like Justice Bamugemereire doesn’t advise people who go to her after losing court cases to follow the judicial procedures of appeal.
“It has now become a procedure for anyone who loses a case to just run to the Commission for assistance as if the Commission is above the courts of law,” Musoke said.
However while ending her day-long public Land Commission of inquiry hearing session yesterday Bamugemereire said she will not be cowed by such intimidation.
“Let Ugandans accept the truth to be told. I cannot come to this place as early as 7:00am, I investigate and leave as late as 9:00pm and you want us to speak diplomatic language. We shall not. If you are corrupt, we shall say you are corrupt and you will have to accept it. We shall say the truth and we shall not be intimidated because you are powerful,” Justice Bamugemereire roared as she closed her session a few minutes past 6:00Pm yesterday.
Justice Bamugemereire said the commissioner put their lives in danger to investigate cases, only for people to come and intimidate them.
Last Friday, this Court of Appeal Judge wondered the logic Judges like Godfrey Namundi used to grant Kajjansi forest reserve to individuals because evidence before her includes a gazette of Kajjansi forest reserve made in 1932.
She also exposed Justice Rugadya Atwooki who gave away 12 square mails of land to Hoima sugar works when the evidence before him showed the land was gazetted forest.
Bamugemereire said the judiciary doesn’t have powers to de-gazette forests as such powers are reserved to parliament.
She asked the judiciary to make a review of some of the eviction orders and judgments made against poor people by Judges like Rugadya and Namundi.
She gave an example of Lusanja where city tycoon Kiconco evict hundreds of people from their bibanja, Kirangira,Wanyonyi in Mukono where tycoon Dick Banoba evict thousands from their bibanjas and are now living in camps because of a sloppy judges.