Citizens want court to disband Nakalema unit

Col Edith Nakalema, head of the State House Anti-Corruption Unit .  PHOTO/FILE

What you need to know:

  • The group claims that the unit is not constitutionally empowered and mandated to investigate, arrest as well as detain suspects. 

Four concerned citizens have petitioned the Constitutional Court, challenging the powers of the State House Anti-Corruption Unit headed by Col Edith Nakalema.

Col Nakalema is a respondent in the case with the Attorney General (AG), Mr Kiryowa Kiwanuka. 

The petitioners are Mr Justus Akampurira, Mr Darius Muteesa, Mr Thomas Bagonza, and Mr Jeremiah Keeyo Mwanje.

They want the court to declare that the creation and activities of the anti-corruption unit are illegal, inconsistent with paragraphs II(i) and v(i) and (ii) of the National Objectives and Directive Principles of state policy and various articles of the Constitution.

The group also want a declaration that the unit is not constitutionally empowered and mandated to investigate, arrest as well as detain any suspect. 

The petitioners are seeking the disbandment of the unit and release of all suspects arrested on orders of Col Nakalema.

In his affidavit, Mr Akampurira, a speaker of Kawempe Division Urban Council and a law student at Makerere University, states that since 2018, Col Nakalema has orchestrated a number of arrests of private persons or individuals and government officials. 

He also states that the declared functions of the unit are to fight, investigate and ferret out corruption in various government ministers and departments and non-government entities.

“That the second respondent (Col Nakalema) in executing her impugned mandate has engaged herself or office in investing crime, initiating and enforcing arrests of public servants and private persons, parading suspects of her activities before various media platforms and directing the Director of Public Prosecutions to prefer charges,” the affidavit reads in part.

It adds: “That the conduct of parading suspects before media houses contravenes the doctrine of presumption of innocence and subjects the suspects to harsh public judgement, which taints their reputation.” 

According to the court’s documents, the petitioners state that Col Nakalema’s office essentially usurps the functions of the office of the Inspector of Government (IGG).

They also hold that Col Nakalema’s approach of forcefully entering into government offices and private residences without search warrant amounts to invasion of privacy contrary to Article 27.

The petitioners also state that the actions of Col Nakalema of accepting an office which is not constitutionally provided for and expends public money is inconsistent and contravenes Articles 17(1) (i) 223, 225 and 230-232. 

Through their lawyers, the petitioners are seeking for a permanent injunction restraining Col Nakalema from carrying out her impugned functions and costs of the petition.

Petition

The petitioners aver that the activities and office of Col Nakalema established by the President to the extent that it duplicates and usurps the police functions of arrest, investigation and detention are inconsistent and contravenes Articles 1, 2, 211 and 212 of the Constitution.
 

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