Sunday February 12 2012

Lawyers want Kadaga to restrain MPs from oil bribery comments

By Ephraim Kasozi & Juliet Kigongo

A law firm representing a city lawyer in a court case seeking to nullify resolutions and investigations of Parliament in connection with oil bribery allegations, has asked Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga to restrain MPs from commenting on the issue, saying it was sub judice.

The lawyers from Mugisha and Company Advocates, representing Mr Saverino Twinobusingye, in a February 2 letter to Ms Kadaga accused MPs of debating the issues of the case despite an injunction and a pending judgment before the Constitutional Court.

“…It is discernible that Parliament has been trying to influence the outcome of the pending matter, thereby undermining the sanctity and independence of the Judiciary which the sub judice rule is intended to protect,” reads part of the letter copied to President Museveni, the Chief Justice and other relevant authorities.

The letter, a copy of which Sunday Monitor obtained, leaked just a day after President Museveni addressed Parliament on developments in the oil sector.

The President also defended Cabinet’s decision to sign two fresh oil deals with Tullow Oil firm, despite Parliament’s resolution that the deal be stayed util oil laws are enacted.

The petition by Mr Twinobusingye before the Constitutional Court is seeking to block demands by MPs that Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi and Internal Affairs Minister Hillary Onek step aside to allow investigations to allegations that they accepted brides from oil firms.

Constitutional Court justices led by the deputy Chief Justice Alice Mpagi Behigeine heard the petition and will deliver judgement on notice.

According to the letter copied to the Constitutional Court, the lawyers warned that they would be constrained to commence contempt of court proceedings against the Ms Kadaga and Parliament.

The letter also asks the Attorney General to prevail upon the House to desist from “violating the sanctity and independence of Judiciary.”

Mr Twinobusingye’s case against the Attorney General (AG) is seeking to block Parliament’s investigations into bribery claims in the oil sector.

Lawyer John Mary Mugisha, told court that Parliament contravened the Constitution in making the resolutions during the oil debate when they allegedly violated the right to a fair hearing as provided for by the Constitution.