By Felix Oketcho
The Judiciary Permanent Secretary, Pius Bigirimana has said he has started a serious war against corruption in the judiciary.
Launching judiciary staff compulsory uniforms for all judiciary staff, he noted that this is one of the many ways they have thought of in the fight against corruption so that everyone at court premises is identified.
“I can assure you we have started the war against corruption. One year from now, we shall call you to give an update,” Bigirimana told judiciary staff at the High Court in Kampala.
According to Bigirimana, corruption has been happening in a number of ways including receipt of gifts and money from litigants by the judiciary officials to influence court proceedings that he said has affected proper service delivery to members of the public.
“After receiving gifts and money, there is always alteration of records and removing of documents. In other cases you find staff receive court fees from litigants and distort information in court. I want to assure the public that the war to fight corruption is on and nobody will be spared.”
The judiciary Permanent Secretary explained that clerks and other staff (uniforms), magistrates (gowns) and judges (robes) will easily be identified by members of the public while at court premises as a way of helping in the fight against corruption.
He noted that at least 550 support staff including court clerks and drivers will be given three sets of uniforms that they are expected to wear at all times while on duty.
“We have put in place other anti-corruption measures like wearing of staff identity cards, customer helplines, CCTV cameras, disciplining of errant staff and the information desk,” Bigirimana explained.
He said over the years, the various disciplinary organs have dismissed three staff, 15 interdicted and 30 on reprimand. Currently, no judiciary staff can receive payments for court filing fees, fines and bail deposits as all payments for court services are made through commercial banks and e-payments systems.”
Asked how effective, the introduction of uniforms for all judiciary staff will be in the fight against corruption, Bigirimana said there is always a start to everything, noting that the war against the vice has now kicked off.
“It takes a lot to fight corruption because it is sophisticated. Corruption doesn’t only mean stealing government money. It ranges from the lowest person to the highest persons. The most important thing is that we are determined to fight corruption,” he said.
Bigirimana said the latest development comes against recommendations in the 2020 Judiciary Anti-Corruption Taskforce report which emphasized uniforms for all support staff to ease identification.