Broke Judiciary misses sessions

Kampala.
For the past two months of September and October, the Judiciary has not conducted countrywide criminal sessions because there is no cash, Daily Monitor has reliably learnt.

A judge, who preferred to remain anonymous, complained how the lack of operational funds forced the Judiciary not to conduct the sessions. This “ugly scenario” the official said, is frustrating for prisoners, especially with criminal cases.

A mini-survey by Daily Monitor around courts shows the trickledown effect of lack of funds, with some court support staff struggling to find stationery and other materials used in the running of the courts.

The judge explained that such a situation fuels corruption as the court staff may be tempted to solicit a bribe in order to buy paper to print out a court document for a litigant.

Treasury Secretary Keith Muhakanizi, when contacted on the source of the problem, said: “I released all the Judiciary funds for the half year period running from July to December.”

He added: “Ask the accounting officer what happened with the September and October funds in question”
When contacted, Ms Dorcus Okalany, the Judiciary accounting officer, admitted that there was a delay in remittance of the funds. She, however, clarified that only five courts were affected.

“There was a technical failure in the account systems of finance. But the funds were released and some of the officers have been calling me, saying they have received the money,” Ms Okalany said in a telephone interview on Friday.

She added: “Besides, they (judicial officers) even still had some money on their accounts but they keep on asking for more yet accountability is very poor.” She said the money was released two weeks ago.

The Judiciary spokesperson, Mr Erias Kisawuzi, in an earlier interview, also admitted that there were some technical issues with the system and the funds could not reach the intended courts in time.

jbwire@ug.nationmedia.com

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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