By Elizabeth Ankunda
20th Sept 2023
The High Court has dismissed an application filed by David Livingstone Ebiru, the former Executive Director of Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) seeking to halt his trial on bribery charges until investigations by the Inspectorate of Government are completed.
On Wednesday, the Anti-Corruption Division Judge Jane Okuo Kajuga ruled against the application filed against the Attorney General, stating that it was incorrectly filed before the High Court due to a lack of territorial and material jurisdiction to enforce Ebiru’s human rights.
Ebiru is facing charges of offering a bribe or gratification to Charles Masekuura, the UNBS board chairperson between October and December 2022 to secure his position as the UNBS ED.
On August 8, 2023, the Chief Magistrates Court, presided over by Joan Aciro, issued a warrant of arrest against Ebiru, directing the police to apprehend him immediately upon sight.
However, all attempts to arrest him have been unsuccessful, leading him to file a case against the Attorney General challenging the criminal trial.
In his application, represented by his lawyers from Web Advocates, Ebiru contended that he was aggrieved by the Inspectorate of Government’s (IG) decision to prematurely sanction charges against him without conducting prior investigations.
He sought to halt the trial, arguing that his fundamental rights and freedoms were violated by the IG’s actions in issuing a warrant of arrest and preferring charges.
However, the Attorney General, through Principal State Attorney Wanyama Kodoli, urged the court to dismiss the application for a temporary injunction, arguing that the Anti-Corruption Court Division (ACD) had no jurisdiction to hear human rights enforcement matters, which should have been filed elsewhere.
In her ruling delivered today, Justice Kajuga agreed with the Attorney General’s submissions and dismissed the application for lack of jurisdiction.
She explained that the case before her was arising from a criminal matter still pending in the Chief Magistrates Court, where Ebiru had not yet appeared and was on a warrant of arrest.