MPs Quiz Judiciary Over ‘Ghost' Judges

1385 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Muhindo Ngene, the Judiciary Undersecretary said the work of filling up the vacant lies squarely with the judicial service commission adding that, their responsibility stops at declaring the vacant positions.

The Public Accounts Committee has grilled officials from the Judiciary to explain discrepancies in the number of judges. The MPs argue that there are fewer judges compared to what was budgeted for in the 2012 financial year. While reviewing the Auditor General’s report ending June 2012, the MPs noted that despite the fact that the finance ministry for 76 judges, there are only 68 judges in the judiciary.

MPs tasked the judiciary officials to explain where, the money that was budgeted for the none existent judges went. MPs also asked the officials to explain why the judiciary has 132 vacancies, despite the case backlog. Muhindo Ngene, the Judiciary Undersecretary said the work of filling up the vacant lies squarely with the judicial service commission adding that, their responsibility stops at declaring the vacant positions.
 
Eddie Kwizera, the PAC lead counsel asked Ngene why they declared the positions vacant well knowing that some officials were due for retirement.
 
//cue in: “do you declare...
Cue out: ...want to declare.”//

Jack Wamai Mamanga, the Mbale Municipality MP blamed the problem on poor planning saying retirement is not accidental adding that it should be carefully planned. However, Ngene explained that the judicial service commission was not in place when the positions fell vacant.
 
He however says they submitted a request to the commission to fill up the vacancies but the commission is yet to act. Paul Mwiru, the Public Accounts Committee vice chairperson asked Ngene to present the documents that prove that they submitted the list of vacant posts to the commission.

//cue in: “we don’t want...
Cue out: ...Judicial service commission.”//

This is not the first time that the MPs have complained over case backlog in the judiciary.