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Uganda: Fight over vehicle erupts in Judiciary

The Judiciary management has with immediate effect, withdrawn a van that the Uganda Judicial Officers Association (UJOA) has been using to run its activities over the years.

According to a letter written by Ms Maureen Kasande from the office of the permanent secretary, the allocation of the van number UG 0518 J to UJOA, contravenes the treasury accounting instructions.

To that effect, the van has been withdrawn and instead allocated to the support staff attached to Anti-Corruption Court, International Crimes Division and the Court of Appeal for drop offs since they are located far from public transport means.

“The above motor vehicle was procured with Judiciary funds and allocated to UJOA for its use. However, as you are aware, UJOA is not an entity of the Judiciary and this allocation contravenes treasury accounting instructions,” reads in part the November 29 letter to UJOA President, Mr Godfrey Kawesa.

“In addition, the Judiciary currently has limited fleet and during the permanent secretary to Judiciary’s inspection of courts, a request was made to provide transport to staff of Anti-Corruption, International Crimes Divisions and Court of Appeal since they are located far from public transport drop offs.

The purpose of this letter is to inform you that management has decided to use this vehicle for this purpose and to request you to hand over this vehicle,” the letter further reads.

Lately, there has been friction between the Judiciary management and UJOA leadership.

The friction started about two months ago when the new permanent secretary, Mr Pius Bigirimana wrote an internal memo to judicial officers saying the increase in their judicial allowances had been accredited in error and that the same was to be rectified by reversing it.

Being aggrieved by this move, UJOA has since instituted a law suit before the Kampala High Court, challenging a series of welfare issues.
They are also challenging the existence of the office of the secretary to Judiciary, arguing that it’s non-existent in the Judiciary hierarchy hence it should be scrapped.

UJOA is an umbrella professional body that brings together Justices, Judges, Registrars and Magistrates. It was founded in 1970. Its core mandate is to advocate for their welfare among other roles.

The van in question was being used by UJOA to run the association activities like going for burials or parties of close relatives of members, official duties, provide transport to run its errands among others.
The main stream Judiciary could also occasionally, use this van to provide transport services for its activities like the launch of Small Claims Procedure.

By Daily Monitor

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