By Rachael Najjuma
17th March 2023
Joan Aciro, the Chief Magistrate of the Anti-Corruption Court, has granted the prosecution a final opportunity to call additional witnesses in the St. Peter’s Church Ndeeba Church demolition case.
Failure to do so will result in the closure of their submission.
The latest development took place today when the scheduled hearing for the state witnesses flopped with prosecution informing the court that there was no attorney assigned to the case file, and as a result, requested an adjournment.
Gloria Inzukulu, who represented the state, informed the court that the attorney previously assigned to the case file had been transferred and as a result, they requested an adjournment.
Inzukulu further explained that they were waiting for the file to be allocated to a new attorney who would also require some time to study it before proceeding.
However, the defense lawyers strongly opposed her request, accusing the prosecution of abusing the court process by unnecessarily prolonging the case to the detriment of the accused person’s right to a speedy trial.
Max Mutabingwa, one of the defense lawyers, pointed out to the court that for the past three years, the state has been using delaying tactics to prolong the hearing and eventual conclusion of the case is enough to force the closure of the case.
Another defense lawyer, Ambrose Tebyasa, also reminded the court that as the state continues to prolong the hearing process, it should keep in mind that the accused individuals have no source of income. Many of them are on interdiction, and even Dodoviko Mwanje’s business is affected due to the prolonged court process.
The case in question was transferred from Makindye to the Anti-Corruption Court in Kampala on December 9, 2020. Throughout 2021, the prosecution repeatedly noted that they were still investigating.