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Jinja RDC Sakwa loses bid to block interdiction

FILE PHOTO: RDC Erick Sakwa and his lawyer outside court after securing an interim injunction which allowed him to stay in the office pending the determination of the main application.

Jinja, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | High Court in Jinja has dismissed with costs an application by Jinja Resident District Commissioner Joseph Erick Sakwa challenging his interdiction from office. Justice Jeanne Rwakakooko delivered the verdict this morning saying an interdiction is the first step towards disciplinary proceedings.

She explained that under the Public Service Standing Procedures, an interdiction is based on preliminary investigations and an officer on interdiction remains innocent until proven otherwise.

“I agree that it is only reasonable and not irrational at all to interdict a public officer charged with manslaughter. The applicant doesn’t dispute the fact that he was arrested, charged and remanded to prison for manslaughter,” said Rwakakooko.

Sakwa ran to the high court after he was interdicted on May 4, 2020, following his arrest and prosecution for manslaughter, malicious damage and theft. He was accused of causing the death of a businessman, Charles Isanga who had allegedly defied measures announced by the president to control the spread of coronavirus disease.

Shortly after his appearance before the Jinja Magistrate’s Court, Hajji Yunus Kakande, a secretary in the office of the President directed him to vacate office to pave way for investigations into the matter. But Sakwa objected to the interdiction and petitioned the High Court through his lawyer Evans Ochieng to block the process.

He argued that the interdiction had loopholes since he was never informed in his appointment letter that he would be interdicted if criminal proceedings are instituted against him. He added that his interdiction contravened rules of natural justice as he was never given a right to a fair hearing.

He managed to secure an interim injunction which allowed him to stay in the office pending the determination of the main application.

In her judgment, Justice Jeanne Rwakakooko said Sakwa has a legitimate expectation that he will be given an opportunity to respond to the findings arising from the investigations by his employer once the Investigations are complete.

She noted that Sakwa’s interdiction was never irrational because as a public officer, the moment he was arrested, he was charged and the prosecution has since commenced. The judgment means Sakwa has to vacate office pending the conclusion of his trial.



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