This was during a Monday meeting with officials from the Judiciary led by the Permanent Secretary Pius Bigirimana. The team had appeared before the committee to respond to the Auditor General’s report for the financial year 2018/2019.
Members of the
Public Accounts Committee-PAC of Parliament have tasked the Judiciary to set heavy sanctions
for judicial officers who delay judgements and those that abandon duty.
This was during a Monday meeting with officials from
the Judiciary led by the Permanent Secretary Pius Bigirimana. The team had appeared
before the committee to respond to the Auditor General’s report for the financial
Before he tasked the officials to respond to the audit
queries, Nathan Nandala Mafabi, the PAC Chairperson, questioned how long a judge is expected to write and deliver a judgement on a matter before him. He said that many litigants wait
for decisions by court in vain.
“When a judge says I am going to write a ruling, how
many years do you give him…what is the maximum time you give a judge to write a
ruling, ten years or two years?” he asked, prompting Sarah Langa, the Judiciary Chief Registrar to explain that the Judicial Code of Conduct requires that a decision is delivered within 60-days after hearing of a case.
that the litigants have not had a clear place to
register complaints in case a ruling is not delivered in 60-days but they have sometimes
lodged complaints to the Judicial Service Commission-JSC or Judiciary
Administration. She however added that the problem will now be resolved with the Performance Enhancement Tool that is currently under development.
//Cue in; “so we have…
Cue out…the Chief Justice.”//
Pius Bigirimana, the Judiciary Permanent Secretary said
that the Performance Enhancement Tool will provide sanctions for the
judicial officers and hold them accountable for related justice. He is optimistic that this will ultimately solve the
problem of case backlog in the judicial system.
//Cue in; “this tool is…
Cue out…quicken these cases.”//
But Nandala also expressed disappointment with Judges
and Magistrates who keep away from duty and obstruct the progress of cases
without any communication to litigants. He said that the behaviour was disheartening and equated
it to abuse of office by the judicial officers, adding that there must be
a mechanism to hold them accountable.
//Cue in; “I don’t know…
Cue out…not be accepted.”//
Nandala’s sentiments were not different from those of
Fredrick Angura, the Tororo South MP who demanded stringent guidelines for
the judicial officers. Bigirimana acknowledged the shortfalls saying that it was
morally wrong for the judicial officers to keep away from the office saying that
certainly, there will be sanctioned for those who receive a salary and not work.
//Cue in; “it is very…
Cue out…having them prosecuted.”//
Bigirimana also appealed to the public to be allies of
court by reporting such practices from the judicial officers.