Culprits implicated in diverting and abusing public funds in the ongoing Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) probe, must be punished and ordered to refund the stolen money, Justice Julia Sebutinde has said.
“My colleague, Lady Justice Catherine Bamugemereire, you are doing a good job. I am so proud of you. Just grill those thugs for me. Some of us have been made to believe that we are a poor country, driving in potholes but instead the money meant for the road sector is being stolen by a few individuals. Those found guilty must be punished as an example to other thieves,” said Justice Sebutinde, a judge at the International Court of Justice at The Hague.
She was speaking to women activists and judges in Kampala on Tuesday.
“You should persevere, do not be intimidated by any one, just do your work,” Justice Sebutinde told Justice Bamugemereire, who chairs the commission of inquiry into alleged corruption and mismanagement in UNRA.
The commission started its proceedings on June 22, and its members include Catherine Bamugemereire (chairperson), Mr Ben Okello Luwum, Mr Abraham Nkata, Mr Patrick Rusongoza and Mr Richard Mungati. Others include Charles Emuria (commission secretary), Daniel Rutiba (assistant commission secretary), Andrew Kasirye (lead counsel), and Mary K. Kutesa (assistant lead counsel). It will give a report to President Museveni within 90 days from June 22.
Justice Sebutinde commended the probe team counsels for asking relevant questions that steer the inquiry into the right direction.
Years before joining the ICC, Ms Sebutinde is known for the tough judicial inquiries into high-profile corruption cases in police, purchase of defective MI-24 military helicopters for UPDF and the Uganda Revenue Authority. She is also one of the judges who tried former Liberian President Charles Taylor at a special court in Sierra Leone.
Justice Sebutinde is a member of Uganda Women Lawyers Association, National Association of Women Judges and the Uganda Christian Lawyers Association.
She is also a good-will ambassador for UNDP, which addresses reproductive health, population development strategies and advocacy.