Authorities in Kabale District have sounded the alarm over a disturbing surge in corruption cases involving court clerks, jeopardizing the dispensation of justice for Ugandans.
The concerns were raised during the Kabale High Court open day, held at the High Court premises on Kikungiri Hill in Kabale Municipality, focusing on the theme “Enhancing Judicial Accountability and Access to Justice.”
Ronald Bakak, Deputy Resident District Commissioner, highlighted instances where court clerks, in an alarming display of corruption, held clients’ files hostage in attempts to extort bribes.
Bakak cited a specific case where a suspect, after approaching his office, found his file mysteriously missing whenever he appeared in court, resulting in unjust remand to Ndorwa government Prison.
Addressing the issue of case backlog, particularly in land-related matters, Bakak emphasized that prolonged court proceedings significantly impact local residents in terms of resources, denying them timely justice.
Justus Muhangi, an advocate at Muhangi Company Advocates, expressed his dismay at the corruption among court clerks, urging the judiciary to take decisive action.
He underscored the importance of the court open day, stating that it serves as a crucial oversight mechanism for evaluating the judiciary’s performance as a system.
Responding to the concerns, Dr. Flavian Zeija, the Principal Judge of the High Court of Uganda, attributed the rise in corruption among court clerks to the public’s reluctance to report corrupt officials within the judiciary.
Zeija stressed the need for the public to openly report any corrupt judicial officials, emphasizing that judicial officers must play a supervisory role in addition to their administrative duties.
In reassurance, Zeija pledged to find viable solutions to address corruption among court clerks.
He urged judicial officers to understand the societal environment in which they operate and take proactive measures to maintain integrity within the system.
The article concludes by emphasizing the importance of collaborative efforts to combat corruption within the judicial system, ensuring the fair and efficient delivery of justice to all.