KAMPALA — The Uganda Law Society (ULS) has condemned the arrest and detention of one of its own, Mr Onyango Owor, by the State House Anti-Corruption Unit.
Mr Onyango was on January 2 arrested with his two clients before the trio was arraigned before the Grade II Magistrate at Makindye Chief Magistrate’s Court and charged with 7 counts, including obtaining money by false pretense, fraudulent procurement of titles and conspiracy to defraud government among others. They were remanded to Luzira Prison.
According to ULS President Simon Peter Kinobe, Mr Onyango was simply a victim of circumstances.
“On the 2nd of January 2020, Mr. Onyango Owor together with three other persons were summoned at the State House Anti-Corruption Unit ‘to provide information’ on his client Kiboga Twegatte Cooperative Society Limited. On arrival, Mr. Onyango Owor and the other two individuals were instead arrested and immediately arraigned before the Grade II Magistrate at Makindye Chief Magistrate’s Court and charged…,” Mr Kinobe said in a statement.
“Our preliminary findings indicate that Onyango’s only crime was acting as an advocate,” he added.
Mr Kinobe said all practicing Advocates as officers of court deserve to be treated with courtesy and respect as such, no any advocate should be subjected to arbitrary and unlawful arrests for acts done in the course of their duty as advocates.
“Such arrest goes against the provisions of article 40 (2) of the Constitution of Uganda which safeguards the rights of every person in Uganda to practice his or her profession and to carry on any lawful occupation, trade or business. In Uganda, all advocates are accountable to the Law Council established under Section 2 of the Advocates Act for any acts of improper or professional nature. We advise the different agencies to always consult Uganda Law Society or the law council before they arrest any advocate. We continue to appreciate the fight against corruption but reiterate the need for respect of rule of law, due process and human rights,” he added.