By Hillary Nsambu
The Judiciary is to investigate the alleged disappearance of a High Court file in which Justice Anup Aingh Choudry awarded over sh7bto a group of farmers in Mubende District.
This follows a protest by Justice Choudry to the Acting Chief Justice (CJ) Steven Kavuma and requesting him to order for an investigation as to how the file left the office of the Chief Registrar or the office of the High Court judge.
“This phenomena of files going missing is a symptom of corruptionand litigants have to endure the injustice,” Choudry stated in his complaint to the Acting Chief Justice.
In his letter to the Acting CJ dated July 2, 2014, a copy of which New Vision saw, Choudry said that he had received a letter from the Principal Judge (PJ) through the Chief Registrar enquiring about the whereabouts of the file, referenced Baleke Kayira Peter versus Attorney and Kaweri Coffee plantations Limited of 2002, which had gone missing in the Judiciary.
“Last year in March, I gave a judgment in the case in favour of the peasants of Kaweri farmers and ordered that the sh20m that they paid into court for security of costs be paid out forthwith.
I was informed that the file was required by Nakawa court before the monies could be released. However, I was most reluctant to part with the file as I knew full well that once this sensitive file left my chambers it would disappear, because we have mafias in the Judiciary. In the end I released the file to Nakawa court with a provision that it must be returned to my chambers.
The file was accompanied by my bodyguard, two lawyers and one lay man when it left my chambers, so that it did not drop on the way,” Choudry wrote to the Ag CJ.
Choudry further asserted that after the Nakawa court registrar had confirmed that the file would be returned to the Chief Registrar, the then Chief registrar duly acknowledged receipt of it.
However, the judge complained that his order was not obeyed, because of some archaic procedures that delay justice in the court all the time. The farmers had to make an application to the Court of Appeal, which also ordered the release of the security monies.
“But, now the farmers cannot be paid because the file is missing. I note that the lawyers for the farmers are being tossed from one place to another, from one court to another each day for the last one year. I fear we have mafias in the court, otherwise there is no rhyme, for such a massive file to be misplaced or to disappear,” Choudry asserts in his letter.
In an effort to obtain a comment, the Acting CJ Kavuma, through his personal Assistant, Dan Lubowa, referred The New Vision to The Judiciary Spokesperson, who is also the registrar Planning of the Judiciary, Elias Omar Kisawuzi, who expressed surprise over the alleged disappearance of the file.
“But, be that as it may, we shall cause an investigation to establish how this file left the chambers of the presiding judge to Nakawa Court registry and allegedly to the Chief Registrar and eventuall allegedly got lost or went missing or misplaced.
Other than the judge, I have not had an opportunity to hear from any parties or their counsel about the loss of the file,” Kisawuzi told The New Vision.
We have mafias in the Judiciary, says judge