KAMPALA – Chief Justice Bart Katureebe has blasted Justice Catherine Bamugemereire for issuing stinging criticism of the judiciary using a strange procedure, and without providing a formal report to any authority.
In a press release on Sunday, the Chief Justice expressed his dismay at the methods of the Court of Appeal judge, who also doubles as the chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry into Land Matters, who in an October 26 no-holds-barred missive exposed the rot in courts and Judiciary, and said judges are conniving with land grabbers, and also lashed out at what she called the “wanton abuse” of criminal justice system.
“We would have expected the Commission to communicate findings of such a serious nature in form of an Interim Report to the President, not a Press Release,” said the Chief Justice, Bart Katureebe.
“The Judiciary, as well as the government, would have studied that report and taken appropriate action, including giving the officers mentioned in there is an opportunity to defend themselves.
“Nonetheless, we will further study the Press Release and try to work on it appropriately. Any judicial officer found to have acted outside the law will be dealt with accordingly,” added the Chief Justice.
In her missive, Justice Bamugemereire condemned “bogus judgements and orders” in the eviction of bibanja holders, and warned that if the Judiciary, the third arm of the State, “does not rise to the occasion, it will be captured wholly by land grabbers and used as a catalyst of untold social distress arising from pressure on land”.
The judge called for stern action against a racket of ‘mafias’ in the country’s judicial system.
Criticizing judges, Justice Bamugemereire said her team encountered a rising number of orders, rulings, judgments and injunctions entered by judicial officers which have led to the eviction of thousands of bibanja holders [bona fide tenants] or giving away protected land like forest reserves and wetlands countrywide. She has recommended an urgent review of all judgments issued by the courts on matters of land.