Government has started investigations into the manner in which the Nabweru Chief Magistrate Rebecca Nasambu issued an eviction order for over 200 residents at Sekanyonyi-Lusanja village in Kasangati Town Council, Wakiso District.
Responding to queries from legislators over the plight of the people, trapped and living in tents after mass evictions, the Attorney General, William Byaruhanga told parliament that the magistrate is currently under investigation with a view of punishing her for the erroneous actions.
“She failed to exercise due diligence required in respect to issuing orders relating to land which affect or impact tenants or occupants and there was no merit found for her explanation because she only insisted the notice to show cause was shown to the defendants,” Byaruhanga told parliament on Tuesday afternoon.
The chief government lawyer said the Nabweru Chief Magistrate and the court registrar Baker Rwatooro have been charged with conduct prejudicial to the good image of service which contravenes the regulations of the Judicial Service Commission.
According to Byaruhanga, the duo is also charged with producing substandard work and unsatisfactory performance of their duty contrary to the Judicial Service Commission regulations and the public service standing orders.
Eviction was illegal
The Attorney General told the August House that in 2017, one Medard Kiconco filed a suit before the Nabweru Chief Magistrates Court against 17 people and was handled by Nasambu seeking for orders of demolition and delivery of vacant possession of the property in question among others on top of costs.
He said the matter proceeded exparte and that on October 3, 2017, the magistrate delivered a judgment in which she declared the 17 people as trespassers on the land.
According to Byaruhanga, the defendants in December filed an application seeking for orders to have the earlier judgment set aside but it was dismissed .
“Another miscellaneous application filed by the defendants for interim stay of execution was heard by the Deputy Registrar on December 19th 2017 and allowed on condition that the applicants deposited security for costs of Shilling 20 million and subsequently the High Court Execution Division dismissed the application on December 19th 2017 on grounds that the same had been overtaken by events,”Byaruhanga said.
“After dismissing the application to set aside the exparte judgment on 2nd July 2018, the High Court Execution Division proceeded with the execution process and on 23rd August 2018, His worship Rwatooro Baker, Deputy Registrar issued a warrant to Kirunda Moses T/A Spear Link Auctioneers &Court Bailiff.”.
Investigations by government found out that the Nabweru Chief Magistrate didn’t have jurisdiction to handle the matter and that she handled it without making a locus visit to the contested piece of land.
“There was no proper service of summons against the defendants among others and there was no merit in her explanation other than asking for forgiveness and pardon, there by forwarding her case to Judicial Service Commission for disciplinary action,” Byaruhanga told parliament.
The Attorney General requested for a week to be able to return to the floor of the August House with a proper decision on all officers involved in the unlawful eviction.