The Court of Appeal yesterday denied that it cannot trace key documents supporting a notice of appeal filed by Youth MP Gerald Karuhanga challenging the composition of the Constitutional Court bench due to hear a petition against the re-appointment of Justice Benjamin Odoki as Chief Justice.
The notice was notifying the Supreme Court of an intention to appeal the refusal of justices Steven Kavuma and Augustine Nshimye to excuse themselves from hearing the petition challenging the reappointment. The notice of appeal was filed on January 17.
It emerged at a press briefing yesterday that Mr Karuhanga had, through his lawyer, written to the court registrar, stating that “despite paying the requisite fees, to-date, we have not been availed the composition of the panel to hear the petition, the ruling and record of proceedings to enable us to pursue the appeal to the Supreme Court”.
Three months after the appeal was filed, deputy registrar Court of Appeal Deo Nizeyimana wrote a March 20 reply to Mr Karuhanga through his lawyer George Kanyeihamba revealing the failure to find the documents.
“I have perused through our registry file and I have failed to trace the Notice of Appeal filed by yourselves,” the letter reads in part. “The letter requesting for the ruling and record of proceedings is also not on record. Please furnish us with copies of the named documents for us to make an informed decision.”
Mr Karuhanga is contesting the re-appointment of Mr Odoki, saying it is unconstitutional after he clocked 70 years, the retirement age.
The MP states that in re-appointing Mr Odoki, President Museveni followed the aice of Attorney General Peter Nyombi and ignored the Judicial Service Commission, contrary to the law.
Last evening, Mr Nizeyimana preferred that the Judiciary’s spokesperson comments on the matter who, however, maintained that all documents are available.
“The registrar was only inquiring from them if they had filed the appeal but they misinterpreted it to mean that their notice of appeal is lost.
Those documents are secure and they have never been misplaced even the certified copy of proceedings is ready for collection,” Mr Erias Kisawuzi, the judiciary spokesperson, said.