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Judiciary goes digital in fight against errant officers

By Hillary Nsambu

Added 27th July 2019 07:29 PM

The Commission also wanted to reduce the volume of work in paper filing, it also wanted to save its time and money for the complainants

The Commission also wanted to reduce the volume of work in paper filing, it also wanted to save its time and money for the complainants

The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has established an online complaints management system, which the public will in the future use to register their complaints against alleged errant judicial officers.

Commissioner/chairperson JSC disciplinary committee Norah Matovu Winyi, on Friday last week, revealed that in 2017 with over 700 complaints in its registry against various judicial officers, it became apparent that action had to be taken to fast-track the handling of complaints filed with the Commission.

She revealed that in a bid to foster good performance and discipline of judicial officers, JSC embraced the system with the support of an NGO known as Strengthening Uganda's Anti-Corruption Response - Technical Advisory Facility (SUGAR) to which they are grateful.  

She further revealed that the digital system that has just been demonstrated to the members of the Commission and is currently being used by technical staff, would enable staff to view the progress on different complaints in real-time, generate useful statistics that inform the Commission work progress, ensure guide allocation of files for carrying out investigations and for prosecution of errant judicial officers.   

"With the system, it has become possible to link up with other government departments for information sharing and facilitating planning and budgeting," she asserted.

Matovu-Winyi revealed this at a news conference held on Friday at Lotis Towers, Mackinnon Road, JSC's new headquarters in Kampala.

She was flanked by JSC's Acting Registrar Julius Mwebembezi, who is also in charge of the directorate of Planning, Research and Inspectorate; commissioner Amongin Aporu and Olive Zaale-Otete, technical advisor of Strengthening Uganda's Anti-Corruption Response (CUGAR) - technical advisory facility.

She further revealed that with the establishment of the electronic system in filing the peoples' complaints, the JSC wanted to reduce the number of people who have been flocking the JSC headquarters to physically register their complaints and to ensure efficiency in disposing of cases.

She said the Commission also wanted to reduce the volume of work in paper filing, it also wanted to save its time and money for the complainants wherever they are in the country, who would be travelling to JSC's headquarters to file their papers and in the appropriate time.

"When the Commission started work in January 2017, there were over 700 complaints against various judicial officers in the complaints handling system. After reviewing the various operational documents, including the JSC Regulation of 2005, the public standing orders on complaints handling against public officers and the clients charter for JSC, it became apparent that action had to be taken to fast-track the handling of complaints filed in the Commission's registry,"  Matovu-Winyi said.

She explained that JSC being one of the 18 institutions that make the Justice Law and Order Sector (JLOS), it is responsible for promoting the rule of law and access to justice for all in Uganda.

With an effective, responsive and efficient judicial service, JSC is responsible to foster an accountable and effective judicial service through competency-based recruitment, disciplinary control of judicial officers, stakeholder, public and judicial engagements for better delivery of services.

Under the Constitution, the JSC is mandated to recruit and recommend for the appointment of various categories of judicial officers on the higher bench and appointments of magistrates; advice on the appointment of selected members of statutory bodies including the Electricity Disputes Tribunal (EDT).

The Commission is also mandated to exercise disciplinary control over judicial officers and other non-judicial staff within the Judiciary and conducting programmes for the education and dissemination of information to judicial officers and the public about the law and administration of justice in Uganda.

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