Government has admitted that the Deputy Chief Justice, Richard Buteera was appointed without advice from the Judicial Service Commission.
The admission is contained in the Attorney General’s response to a petition by lawyer Male Mabirizi in the East African Court of Justice to challenging the appointment of Justice Alphonse Owiny-Dollo as Chief Justice and Richard Buteera as his deputy.
In response, the Attorney General says that after the appointment of Owiny-Dollo as the Chief Justice, his previous position of Deputy Chief Justice fell vacant hence the need to have it filled.
“Following the position of the Deputy Chief Justice falling vacant, as a result of the appointment of Hon. Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo as Chief Justice of Uganda, H.E the President in exercise of his power, provided under articles 142 and 147, appointed Richard Buteera, then a justice of the Supreme Court, as Deputy Chief Justice,” the Attorney General says.
The Attorney General however defended the same saying it was an Executive act by the President using his prerogative of powers to appoint Buteera who had not been shortlisted as a Deputy Chief Justice.
“Justice Buteera was qualified to be appointed as Chief Justice and H.E the President as the appointing authority had the prerogative duty to make the choice.”
“The Judicial Service Commission received no complaint from any person that the appointment of Hon. Justice Richard Butera as Deputy Chief Justice of Uganda has denied him or her opportunity to compete for appointment if a vacancy had been declared,” the Attorney General says.
According to the Attorney General, the appointment of Buteera as the Deputy Chief Justice was cost-effective and saved government public funds that would be spent in going through a lengthy and expensive recruitment process.
In his petition, Mabirizi avers the appointment of Owiny-Dollo and Buteera as Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice was illegal.
“Justice Richard Buteera was nominated to the position of Deputy Chief Justice which was not vacant at the time of nomination, approval and appointment, it being occupied by Justice Alphonse Chigamoy Owiny-Dollo,” Mabirizi says.
“The Uganda Judicial Service Commission has never declared the position of Deputy Chief Justice vacant, never advertised it, never conducted interviews and never selected candidates for the same.”
The lawyer argues that Buteera has never applied to become a deputy Chief Justice whereas the Judicial Service Commission has also never advised the President to appoint him as Deputy Chief Justice.