The Anti-Corruption Court is to resume its operations, five months after it was grounded.
In a 4-1 ruling today, Judges of the Constitutional Court observed that the court was lawfully established in accordance with all laws.
Consequently, Justices; Remmy Kasule, Solomy Balungi Bbosa, Geoffrey Kiryabwire and Lillian Tibatemwa, dismissed the petition filed by city lawyer Davis Wesley Tusingwire that sought to nullify all the proceedings and the judgments of the Anti-Corruption Court since its inception in 2009 for not being a properly constituted court.
Tusingwire was challenging the judicial duties executed by the magistrates attached to the High Court, Anti-Corruption Division as being unconstitutional.
But in a majority ruling Justice Bbosa said the Anti-Corruption Division was established in accordance with the constitution and all relevant laws. She dismissed the petition with costs to the respondent to be borne by the Attorney General.
Acting Chief Justice Steven Kavuma, however, gave a dissenting judgment. In his judgment, Justice Kavuma held that the High Court, Anti-Corruption Division is not a competent court by reason of structure and composition before ruling in favour of Tusingwire’s petition and awarding him costs.
Justice Kavuma also noted that corruption is a global problem but should be fought following the rule of law. He noted that the courts will be in the fore front supplementing efforts towards the eradication of corruption.
Shortly after the judgement, Judiciary Public Relations Officer, Erias Kisawuzi, welcomed the judgment before saying that they need two weeks to re-organize themselves before they can resume operations at the Kololo based court.
Fred Muwema, the lawyer who represented the petitioner, said they are dissatisfied with the court’s majority judgment and that they are going to appeal against it before the Supreme Court on Monday.
He said one can’t fight corruption without following the rule of law, before insisting that the High Court composition is only meant for the judges not magistrates.
In July this year, the Constitutional Court stayed all the criminal proceedings that were going on in the High Court Anti-Corruption Division and those arising from the magistrates pending the determination of the main petition.
The court was established in 2009 by the then Chief Justice Benjamin Odoki with the main aim of combating corruption in the country. At least 251 cases were affected in the closure of the court.
This judgement comes at the time when anti-corruption crusaders led by Cissy Kagaba had threatened to hold a series of demonstrations if the judiciary had not delivered this judgment by the end of this month.