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Ogoola studies Muhwezi case

By Vision Reporter

Added 10th January 2008 03:00 AM

THE Principal Judge, James Ogoola, has taken over the controversial file in which the former health ministers accused of misappropriating sh1.6b meant for immunisation were challenging their prosecution by the Inspector General of Government (IGG).

THE Principal Judge, James Ogoola, has taken over the controversial file in which the former health ministers accused of misappropriating sh1.6b meant for immunisation were challenging their prosecution by the Inspector General of Government (IGG).

By Charles Ariko

THE Principal Judge, James Ogoola, has taken over the controversial file in which the former health ministers accused of misappropriating sh1.6b meant for immunisation were challenging their prosecution by the Inspector General of Government (IGG).

The High Court Deputy Registrar, Paul Gadenya, yesterday told lawyers representing Maj. Gen. Jim Muhwezi, Capt. Mike Mukula, Dr. Alex Kamugisha and former State House employee Alice Kaboyo that Ogoola was studying the file.

Justice Opio Aweri had adjourned the hearing of the petition to yesterday but the lawyers representing the accused and those from the IGG’s office were surprised when they were told that Aweri was on leave.

Aweri’s court clerk told the lawyers that: “The judge is on leave and I do not know where the file is.”

Michael Wamasebu, the deputy Director of Public Prosecutions wondered how Aweri could be on leave. “Aweri fixed the hearing for today. You mean he did not know that he was going on leave?”

This prompted the lawyers to storm the office of the Registrar Crime, Roy Byaruhanga, who was also reportedly on leave.

The lawyers included Peter Kabatsi, Macdsuman Kabega and Oscar Kambona representing Muhwezi and Fred Muwema for Mukula. Dr Alex Kamugisha is represented by Anacklet Turyakira. Apart from Muhwezi, all the accused were present in court.

The lawyers agreed to seek advice from the deputy registrar’s office.

According to Gadenya, Ogoola said the case would be heard on January 17.

Before breaking off for Christmas last year, Aweri had written to Ogoola protesting a letter written by the IGG, Faith Mwondha, accusing him of not following the principles of ‘natural justice’.

Aweri said he had been offended by the IGG’s remarks. He asked Ogoola to protect him in his judicial work.s

Mwondha had complained that the manner in which Aweri handled the matter was irregular.

“The matter was irregularly brought before court. But to my dismay, Justice Opio Aweri has only allowed the irregularity to stand. He has gone ahead to have a scheduling conference in a criminal revision matter hence adopting a procedure unknown to criminal procedure,” Mwondha said in her letter to Ogoola.

“If the accused persons were truly aggrieved and they believed that there was a matter for constitutional interpretation, they ought to have filed a constitutional petition which they have not done for reasons best known to them,” she added.

In response Aweri said he was shocked by the uncalled for correspondence.

“I ordered that conference (between the state and defence lawyers) to name issues or complaints as the petition appeared wild. I needed pertinent points only for the determination of the conference in a judicial direction adopted in the interest of justice. Both parties welcomed the procedure. Infact, they should explain what took place.”

Muhwezi and his co-accused filed the petition in the High Court questioning the mandate of the IGG to prosecute them.

The accused also questioned the impartiality of the Buganda Road Court Chief Magistrate, Margaret Tibulya, whom they said was related to Mwondha.

They wanted the matter to be referred to the Constitutional Court for interpretation but Tibulya turned down t heir request hence the petition.

Ogoola studies Muhwezi case

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