Retiring Chief Justice Benjamin Odoki will stay in office for at least three more months as the Judicial Service Commission looks for his successor.
The Judicial Service Commission chairperson, Justice James Ogoola, told Members of Parliament on Monday that the chief judge will stay in office until the 23rd of June 2013.
On March 23rd, Justice Odoki turned 70, beyond which age he cannot continue serving as a judge according to the 1995 constitution.
Legislators on the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee chaired by MP Stephen Tashobya had questioned officials from the Judicial Service Commission on what they were doing to get a new Chief Justice since Odoki was leaving office.
But Justice Ogoola told them that the same constitution that bars Odoki from continuing protects him to stay for three months to complete work. Ogoola led a team from the commission to appear before the committee to provide budgetary estimates for the financial year 2013/2014.
Ogoola says they are now engaging the various stakeholders on how to fill the vacancy. These include consultations with Court, Law scholars, Uganda Law Society, Judicial officers such as the IGG, Attorney General and the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs. It is only after this process that they hold will interviews to get the right candidate.
However, Justice Ogoola could not divulge how far the commission has gone with finding a new Chief Justice.
Odoki will however miss out on the new salary enhancement for his position after raising the issue of little remuneration early this year.
Justice Minister Kahinda Otafire last week told MPs that they have proposed the salary for a Chief Justice to be raised from 5 million to 40 million shillings while his deputy will earn 34 million shillings.
The Judicial Service Commission requires 1.6 billion shillings for the coming financial year. They need funding to cover printing of the Anti-Corruption strategy, Handling regulations, Anti- Corruption awareness campaign, Citizen Handbooks and to cover prison inmate workshops. The commission is also in need of two double cabin pick-up trucks and one 14 seater mini bus.
Currently a huge percentage of the commission’s budget is funded by the Justice Law and Order Sector (JLOS).