Prosecutors up in arms over arrest of Kabale State Attorney for Allegedly Soliciting A Bribe

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Last updated on October 16th, 2022 at 08:25 am

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The President of the Uganda Association of Prosecutors (UAP), Mr. Batson Baguma in a statement issued on Saturday, 15th October, rebutted and disassociated the Association from the earlier statement issued by Mr. Timothy Amerit, the General Counsel of the Association on which this story was based saying the General Counsel has no mandate to speak for the Association as this mandate is vested in the President, the Secretary General and the Publicity Secretary. Mr. Timothy Amerit withdrew his statement. Further, Mr. Batson Baguma said as an Association they interacted with Mr. Edwin Mbabazi and the Inspectorate of Government and found that his rights were not violated as the earlier statement had claimed.

Prosecutors under their umbrella body, the Uganda Association of Prosecutors (UAP) have strongly condemned the arrest of their colleague, the Kabale State Attorney, Mr. Edwin Mbabazi who was arrested yesterday, the 13th of October, 2022 on the instructions of the Inspectorate of Government.

Mr. Edwin Mbabazi is being accused of soliciting and obtaining “gratification” of UGX 125,000 as part payment of UGX 500,000 money he allegedly asked of a Kyanamira town Council, Kabale district resident to close a criminal trespass case against him.

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“The Inspectorate of Government received a complaint from a member of the public who alleged that a case of criminal trespass was reported against him at Kyanamira police station and later, the case was transferred to Kabale Central police station. He had been arrested and released on bond by Kabale Police on 30th September 2022. When he reported back to Police, he was told that his case had been forwarded to the State Attorney Kabale. He then went to the office of the State Attorney to inform him that there was another Civil matter which was before the Chief Magistrates Court Kabale concerning the same land he was accused to [have trespassed] under Court file No. Civil Misc. Application No. 39 of 2022.

“That the State Attorney called Edwin Mbabazi promised to peruse through his file and get back to him through his phone number. That Mr Edwin Mbabazi contacted him on Monday 10th October 2022 using a telephone number +25678855009 and asked him to offer a bribe worth UGX 500,000 in order to close the criminal case against him. This prompted him to report the matter to Kabale Regional Office for redress.” reads a Press statement by the Inspectorate of Government.

 

Whereas the Prosecutors say they do not condone corruption, they claim in a Statement under signed by the association’s General Counsel Mr. Amerit Timothy that the State Attorney’s arrest is malicious and a violation of his rights guaranteed under the Constitution of Uganda, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Guidelines on the Role of Prosecutors.

Specifically, the Prosecutors take issue with the manner of the State Attorney’s arrest which they say was arbitrary, high handed and was undertaken in the course of performance of his professional duties. The Prosecutors further condemn the wide publication of the State Attorney’s arrest in the media.

“For the record, UAP does not condone acts of corruption. UAP however condemns the act of arrest and detention of a Prosecutor in the course of performing his professional duties as this is not premised on the fundamental tenets of the law in Uganda and international conventions.” The statement reads, adding:

“We in the utmost manner condemn the wide and large publication of such an arrest in the media without following the due process of law. Such conduct was uncouth and draconian. Parading an arrested suspect before the media is prejudicial to the tenets of fair hearing, which is the hallmark of the criminal justice system. It jeopardises the sanctity of the entire criminal prosecution and inadvertently tarnishes the image of the suspect before reasonable members of society. Suspects too have rights.”

Particularly, the Prosecutors say, the arrest of Mr. Edwin Mbabazi violates Articles 27, 40(2) of the Uganda Constitution, Articles 9, 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Guidelines 4, 21, and 22 of the Guidelines on the Role of Prosecutors – provisions of the law which protect all persons and in particular Prosecutors from arbitrary arrests and attacks on privacy.

The Prosecutors reason that the State Attorney should not have been subjected to “shameful” arrest without prior consideration of the recourse to summons provided for in Section 39 (4) (b) of the Police Act.

Mr. Edwin Mbabazi’s arrest is the second arrest of a State Attorney by the Inspectorate of Government in a space of six months on account of a bribe, the first being Mr. Charles Bwiso who was arrested in Masindi for receiving UGX 1,500,000.

Commenting on the arrest, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions under which the Prosecutors fall, simply said it does not condone any acts of corruption and that it will await the outcome of the investigations and allow due process to take its course.


Benjamin Ahikiiriza is a Legal Writer And Digital Communications & Marketing Specialist majoring in Lawyers, Law Firms And the larger Legal Sector.

Benjamin currently Works as the Director of Content and Business Development At LegalReports.


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