Chief Justice Orders Probe of High Court Judge Over Bribe, Disappeared Case File

The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) on instructions of the Chief Justice Bart Katureebe are investigating corruption and judicial misconduct allegations brought against Justice Joseph Murangira, buy the Deputy head of the Kampala High Court’s Criminal Division.

Justice Murangira is being accused by one of the people he sentenced to death 8 years ago, visit of soliciting a bribe from him.

The Chief Justice Katureebe though the Principle Judge Yorokamu Bamwiine ordered the JSC to look into allegations that Murangira deliberately hid a case file in which he sentenced one Joseph Ekusai to death for murder.

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The High Court Judge allegedly declined to produce a certified copy of the proceedings and his judgment, malady when the suspect though his lawyers tried to appeal the ruling in the Court of Appeal.

Murangira reportedly demanded a bribe from Ekusai’s lawyers of Mushabe, Munungu and Co. Advocates if they wanted the copies, and the lawyers in July 2011 reported this to the Principle Judge Bamwiine.

Bamwiine later last year, brought this matter to the attention of the Chief Justice, who ordered an immediate probe and possible action.

According to Bamwiine, all attempts to recover the file were unsuccessful, as the judge claimed it had been misplaced.  In the meantime in 2012, the convict and his lawyers managed to secure bail.

Bamwiine in his letter to the JSC, reveals that he was informed by the lawyers that the judge demanded for a bribe from the suspect (through the lawyer) and the lawyer refused to comply, which started bad blood between the two.

However, in an interesting turn of events later last year, when Justice Murangira received a letter from the Principle Judge about these accusations, the file which had disappeared for more than 8 years, miraculously reappeared. He nonetheless didn’t respond to Bamwiine’s letter explain the disappearance.

In Bamwiine’s letter to the judge dated November 28 2016, he noted the resurfacing of the case file, while plausible, doesn’t give credit to the Judiciary.

“Coupled with Council Kanduho’s assertion that the file disappeared after refusing to succumb to your demand for a bribe, we are left with no option but to refer the matter to the Judicial Service Commission for investigation and possible administrative action,” Bamwiine wrote.

“Since…you have opted not to comment on the said Counsel’s serious allegations, you may be pleased to offer the same to the Judicial Service Commission.”

Bamwiine notes that it is suspicious that the file, which could not be traced immediately after the ruling when its whereabouts should have been fresh in people’s minds, had now been recovered with apparent little effort.

If the JSC is satisfied that indeed the judge solicited for a bribe from the suspect, Bamwiine says this will be a clear case of improper conduct, corruption and abuse of office on the part of the judge.

Chimpreports by publications time was still unable to get hold of Maria Tibeeza, the information officer at the Judicial Service Commission for updates on the probe, as we were told she was out of office.

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