Wednesday February 14 2018

Judiciary calls off probe on Justice Kavuma

Retired. Justice Steven Kavuma. FILE PHOTO

Retired. Justice Steven Kavuma. FILE PHOTO 

By Anthony Wesaka

KAMPALA. The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has called off investigations into numerous complaints against former Deputy Chief Justice Steven Kavuma.
According to JSC sources, who preferred to remain anonymous, the commission deemed it appropriate not to investigate him since he is no longer a judicial officer in service.

The complaints were filed against Justice Kavuma when he was still serving at the Court of Appeal.
“The purpose of carrying out investigations against a judicial officer is to reprimand them once found culpable. Since Justice Kavuma has retired, even if he was found culpable, there is no way we could effect punishment,” the source said.

The source said it would be a waste of time and resources investigating the complaints.
Justice Kavuma retired in September last year upon clocking the mandatory age of 70.
He then served out his three months extension to clear pending cases before him until December 29 last year.

Among the complaints that had been filed before the JSC, a body charged with recruiting and disciplining errant judicial officers, was by Opposition activist Kizza Besigye.
In mid-2016, Dr Besigye petitioned the JSC to investigate the suitability of Justice Kavuma as a justice of the Court of Appeal/Constitutional Court. The latter was the deputy chief justice at the time.

In a June 16, 2016 letter which he penned from Luzira prison where he was being held on treason, Dr Besigye said Justice Kavuma was close to the State and that instead of doing judicial work, he was serving President Museveni.

“The conduct of Mr Steven Kavuma, over the years since he joined the Judiciary, was initially frequently suspicious, then later frequently outrageous and currently, predominantly improper to a point of going against the oaths and the standards expected of such a judicial officer,” Dr Besigye’s letter read in part.
When contacted yesterday, the JSC chairperson, Justice Benjamin Kabiito, declined to comment on whether the commission abandoned complaints against Justice Kavuma.

Justice Kabiito regretted that JSC has part-time commissioners who have few sittings to resolve the numerous complaints against judicial officers to ensure their culpability is determined before they retire.

“My wish is for any given complaint against a judicial officer to be investigated and determined within 45 days so that their disciplinary fate is known as soon as possible and not for them to retire without determining their fate,” Justice Kabiito said.


It takes more than a year to investigate and conclude a complaint against a judicial officer. During this period, the particular officer misses out on promotions.