Supreme Court approves LDC inquiry into Mbidde, Mabikke papers

KAMPALA- Two lawyers have lost their bid to block the Law Development Centre (LDC) from investigating them over alleged examination malpractices.

The two lawyers who had sought the Supreme Court’s injunction are Mr Michael Mabikke and Mr Fred Mukasa Mbidde.

The ruling by Justice Jotham Tumwesigye who sat as a single judge, upholds the earlier ruling of the Court of Appeal that held that LDC has the powers to set up a forensic committee to investigate allegations of impropriety in its examination processes and examination results.

“In the instant case, the applicants (lawyers) did not convince me that the balance of convenience was in their favour. On the contrary, I find that it would not be fair or just to stop a public institution from conducting a thorough inquiry into allegations of gross malpractice that involves a number of students just because the applicants are included among those students” Justice Tumwesigye said.

He added: “I am also convinced that no substantial or irreparable damage will be caused to the applicants nor will the substantive application or appeal be rendered nugatory since I have no doubt that no court will condone cancellation of the applicants diplomas without allowing them to exercise their right to be heard.”

The judge further observed that this matter does not only affect the concerned lawyers but a greater public and that it’s important that LDC cleans its systems.

Justice Tumwesigye also noted that it is not fair that the cases of other students who would like to clear their names through an exhaustive committee of inquiry should remain in indefinite suspense.

The examination malpractices were allegedly committed between the period of the Bar Course examination of 200405 to 201011, the same period that Mbidde and Mabikke sat for the same examinations.

About three years ago, when this probe was ongoing, it set a wave of fear amongst the legal fraternity as many lawyers feared that their post graduate diplomas would be revoked.

Court records show that the two lawyers were shocked to learn from the media that a forensic audit report issued by LDC had declared their post graduate diplomas invalid and fake.

To that effect, they rushed to High Court seeking among others to stop further forensic audit investigations and nullifying the same but lost the bid as court okayed LDC to carry on with the investigations.

Their petition in the Court of Appeal was also dismissed with costs to LDC about three months ago.
bndagire@ug.nationmedia.com