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Judiciary dismisses Magistrate, reprimands another over swindled bail money

The officer’s dismissal was contained in a letter by the JSC dated May 19th, 2023 following a meeting held by the commission on May 12th, 2023 after several complaints had been raised against them.

KAMPALA, UGANDA: The Judicial Service Commission has dismissed Latif Abubaker Nakibinge, the Grade One Magistrate in Rakai and severely reprimanded the Kamwenge Chief Magistrate Moses Kule Lubangula from judicial service over alleged misconduct and abuse of office.

The officer’s dismissal was contained in a letter by the JSC dated May 19th, 2023 following a meeting held by the commission on May 12th, 2023 after several complaints had been raised against them.

“The Commission in its meeting held on 12th May 2023 resolved to dismiss H/W Nakibinge Latif Abubaker, Magistrate Grade I from judicial service and severely reprimanded H/W Moses Kule Lubangula, Chief Magistrate following the conduct of disciplinary proceedings against each one of them,” reads in part the letter authored by Maria Theresa Nabulya, the commission’s communications officer.

Sources close to the Judiciary’s disciplinary body speaking on condition of anonymity say Nakibinge’s trouble stems from a complaint in which he was accused of withdrawing about seven million shillings being the defendant’s costs but failed to hand it over to the owner. The money should have been handed to Kamugunda of Matovu and Kamugunda and Company Advocates.

This publication could not get the names and contacts of the persons represented by Kamugunda of Matovu and Kamugunda and Company Advocates, but information availed to this reporter indicated that the money was reportedly withdrawn from Centenary Bank as part of the Rakai Court Operation Fund Account in a civil suit number One of 2017.

Following his failure to defend the proceeding against him, Nakibinge was charged with one count of abuse of judicial authority in contravention with the Regulations of the Judicial Service Commission.

“On account of the foregoing, the Commission resolved that there were no grounds for the exercise of leniency as prayed and resolved that you be dismissed from the judiciary service, with immediate effect in terms of regulation 31(1)(a) of the Judicial Service Commission, SI 87/2005,” the Commission resolved.

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On the other hand, Kamwenge Chief Magistrate Moses Kule Lubangula is faulted for having presided ex-parte over a matter that was outside the scope of the Magistrate Grade One jurisdiction.

The matter in this case involved one Mutesasira John Versus Mukasa Galiwango but the subject matter was beyond the pecuniary jurisdiction of a Grade One Magistrate.

“Secondly you proceeded to hear the said application exparte contrary to the Chief Justice ‘s Directive of 2016 that expressly forbade granting exparte orders without notifying the opposite party in the matter and with no affidavit of service having been filed on record”, the source indicates.

Lubangula, 59, was equally charged with abuse of judicial authority and acting in contravention of the Uganda Code of Judicial Conduct contrary to regulation 23(j) of the Judicial Service Commission regulations.

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But on the basis of the evidence that was brought before the commission in the hearing concluded by the Disciplinary Committee, he was adjudged to have committed the said disciplinary offences as charged.

“The commission considered the grounds that you pleaded for in mitigation to the effect that you are aged 59 years and that you have served for 29 years in the Judiciary and resolved that you be severely reprimanded.”

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