Court in Jinja has dismissed a case in which Jinja Resident District Commissioner, Mr Eric Joseph Sakwa was challenging his interdiction after being charged with an alleged criminal offences.
On April 24 this year, Mr Sakwa was charged and remanded to Kirinya Prison over accusations of manslaughter in connection with the death of Jinja businessman Charles Isanga. He is jointly charged with Bazimbyewa Bumali also known as Chris Umar Dindodi a mechanic and Mohammed Simba alias Meddie, a businessman in Jinja.
High Court Judge Jeanne Rwakakooko ruled that Mr Sakwa, though appointed by the President in accordance with the Constitution, is a Public Officer and bound by the Public Service Standing Orders.
The Public Service Standing Orders of 2010 defines interdiction as “the temporary removal of a public officer from exercising the duties of his or her office while investigations over a particular misconduct are being carried out.
“I agree that it is only reasonable and not irrational at all to interdict a public officer charged with manslaughter, as the Applicant was. The Applicant does not dispute the fact that he was arrested, charged and remanded to prison for manslaughter,” the judge ruled.
Sakwa had sued the Attorney General (AG) jointly with the Secretary of the Office of the President Haji Yunusu Kakande seeking for orders to quash the interdiction and to restrain any government worker from forcing him out of the office in implementation of the said interdiction.
Court records show that on May 8, 2020, Mr Sakwa was served with a letter stating that he had been interdicted on the May 4, and signed by Mr Kakande but he argued that he was never given any hearing before the interdiction letter was written, in violation of the rules of natural justice.
Mr Sakwa’s interdiction followed his arrest and arraignment in court over accusations of manslaughter to which he was remanded to prison but later released on bail pending trial.
Justice Rwakakooko held that Haji Kakande being the responsible officer in the President’s Office, had the legal capacity to interdict Mr Sakwa, public officer, stopping him from exercising his powers and performing the functions of the office of the RDC until he is cleared of the charge of manslaughter against him.
“…the decision to interdict is not subject to the right to be heard first since interdiction is but a first step towards disciplinary proceedings. Therefore, there was no need for the Applicant to be heard before he was interdicted,” the judge ruled.