The judiciary’s Inspectorate of Courts has kicked off investigations into the conduct of Nakawa grade one magistrate, Irene Akello who granted bail to an accused person without allowing the state to present its side .
The Inspectorate of Courts investigates and evaluates complaints from the public, conducts regular court inspections, evaluates the performance of magistrates and other judicial staff as well as identifying performance bottlenecks that impede effective delivery of justice.
However, last week , the Nakawa grade one magistrate in an irregular manner granted bail to Mehmet Ozgur Bilir, a Turkish national who is also the General Manager for Gulsan Construction Company who was facing charges related to human trafficking and assault at the Nakawa court.
According to the complainant, Felix Arim , the magistrate remanded Mehmet, 48 to prison until June, 21 as the date to hear his bail application but in a twist of events, at around 6pm after everyone else had left, the trial magistrate called the file and granted bail to the accused in the absence of the state prosecutor.
“Upon the close of business with the suspect in court, we all departed except the magistrate, the accused and his relatives and colleagues who remained moving in and out of the magistrates chambers. At around 5:30pm I was called by someone within court premises that the accused who had been remanded had not been taken by the prison bus but remained behind,” Arim says in his petition.
“Indeed I reached court and found the accused had been set free at around 6pm under terms I didn’t know of.”
The petitioner says on finding out more about the incident, he was told the state prosecutor was not aware of what had happened.
“I have reliable information from within court that the said magistrate on several occasions proceeds without state prosecutors but records their presence by writing her minutes in the file,”Arim said in his petition to the Inspectorate of Courts.
In a response to his petition, the Inspectorate of Courts has informed Arim that investigations into his complaint have kicked off.
“This is therefore to request you to respond and also show cause why you should not be forwarded to the Judiciary Disciplinary Committee for being incompetent and producing poor standard work,” a letter by Dorothy S. Lwanga on behalf of Chief Inspector of Courts to the grade one Magistrate for Nakawa, Irene Akello reads in part.
In a related development the Nakawa Chief Magistrate, Akullo Elizabeth Ogwal has set aside the grade one magistrate’s orders of granting bail to the Turkish national and consequently an arrest warrant issued against him so as he is presented to court for a fresh bail application with sufficient sureties.
“The accused shall present fresh and substantial and sufficient sureties plus his Turkish passport during the bail application. The case file has been recalled from the trial magistrate Irene Akello and reallocated to Senior Principal Magistrate Grade One Esther Nahirya for disposal after bail hearing,” the Nakawa Chief Magistrate said in the letter also copied to Akello.