"Fiat Justitia Ruat Caelum"

Court dismisses Museveni defamation case against Otunnu

Kampala, Uganda.

Court in Kampala has dismissed the case in which former Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) party president Olara Otunnu was accused of defaming President Museveni.

Buganda Road Court grade one magistrate, Ms Joan Aciro dismissed the case on grounds that the prosecution had failed to produce sufficient evidence against Mr Otunnu.

"The only prosecution witness brought to court was Mr Gideon Tugume, a journalist working with Top Television. However, Mr Tugume who appeared in court once was never cross examined by the defence as was required in this case.

Prosecution was put on notice to bring him for cross examination but in vain. Prosecution failed to produce him therefore such testimony is of no value on court record," Ms Aciro said.

The trial magistrate also noted that Mr Tugume in his testimony had informed court that he captured Mr Otunnu making the defamatory statements against the president. However, he did not submit in court any recording to prove the allegations.

“Court can not only base on only witness’s allegations to convict someone,”Ms Aciro added. 
After the court ruling, Mr Otunnu through his lawyer Mr Asuman Basalirwa said he would sue the government over malicious prosecution.

The case arose from Mr Otunnu’s January 16, 2013 press conference in which he allegedly questioned the deaths of what he called President Museveni’s allies since the Front for National Salvation’s (Fronasa) struggles to date, saying they should be investigated.

Prosecution had stated that on January 16, 2013 at UPC party headquarters at Uganda House, in Kampala, Mr Otunnu, with intent to defame President Museveni, allegedly caused a publication of a defamatory matter.

The said incidents include: atrocities in Luwero while Museveni commanded rebellious forces between 1981 and 1986; the massacres of Muslims in Ankole in 1979 when Museveni was commander of the Western Axis of anti-Amin forces composed mainly of his FRONASA contingent.

Others are; the massacre at Ombaci in West Nile in 1981; the scorched-earth counter-insurgency operations and genocide in northern and eastern Uganda between 1986 and 2006; and the wanton killing of unarmed demonstrators on the streets of Kampala, in September 2009.

Otunnu reportedly pointed out that a lot of disappearances and mysterious deaths had occurred under Museveni’s watch and authority since the Front for National Salvation’s (FRONASA) struggles to-date, saying they should be investigated.

His remarks prompted the Attorney General to write to the then UPC president giving him five days to make a public apology for his comments, or face legal action. Mr Otunnu has since declined to make any apologies.

The State further claimed that on February 28, 2013 without reasonable excuse, the UPC leader also ignored a police summon to appear before the Media Crime Department at CIID despite acknowledging receipt of the summon at a press conference he convened at Uganda House.

Source: Daily Monitor (28/04/2017)

Kenya: MCAs to still receive salaries after General Election

Nairobi, Kenya.

Ward representatives will continue receiving salaries eight months after the August 8 General Election, even if they lose their seats.

The High Court ruled today that the members of the county assembly be paid for their full five-year tenure.

Justice Edward Muriithi however said the reps will be paid monthly and not as a lump sum to ease the burden on taxpayers.

LEGAL BACKING

The judge ruled that the five-year tenure for ward reps ends on March 2018 because the Constitution provides that they should serve for five years.

He however said the exact amount of compensation still needs to be determined since there are emoluments that will not remain payable since they will not be actively working.

“The county assembly members suffer a reduced opportunity to remain in office for the full term of their constitutional tenure consistent with their right to hold office and, for that reason, they are entitled to compensation for the lost income for that period,” Justice Muriithi ruled.

REVISE CONSTITUTION

However, the judge pointed out that the Constitution needs to be amended to align the tenure of ward reps with that of members of Parliament and other elective state officers of the national and county governments.

But the judge categorically stated that he had not been asked to determine the issue of amendment of the date of the General Election, and so he had not.

“For avoidance of doubt, this judgment does not affect the holding of the General Election scheduled for August 8 and the payment of salary as well as other applicable emoluments shall be per month in arrears at the end of every month for the period,” he said.

COMPENSATION ISSUE

Since the verdict has a direct effect on all MCAs, the judge further said that parties in the case are now at liberty to move back to court to have a decree as to the payable emoluments, consistent with circumstances of when the reps are not working.

Two voters, Mr Andrew Kiplimo Sang and Mr Richard Ouma, and the County Assemblies Forum sued the electoral commission and the attorney-general.

They challenged the setting of the date of the General Election and sought an interpretation of the law on when the term of county assembly members end, as well as whether they are entitled to compensation for the reduced period.

There are 2,526 county assembly members earning a basic monthly salary of Sh165,000 each, which amounts to Sh416 million.

TENURE OF OFFICE

They were elected in the March 2013 General Election.

The bone of contention that saw the matter land in court is the fact that the terms of the President and county governors come to an end when a new one is sworn in, as per the Constitution.

The law also states clearly that the term of MPs ends on the date of elections.

However, the Constitution only indicates that county assembly members have a fixed five-year term in office.

Source: Daily Nation (27/04/2017).

Government reads riot act to investors over labour laws

Dodoma, Tanzania.

The government, yesterday, sternly warned investors who do not observe the country’s labour laws, including blacklisting workers and using humiliating methods when searching their employees.

The Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office (Policy, Parliamentary Affairs, Labour, Employment, Youth and the Disabled), Mr Anthony Mavunde, said his office has received numerous complaints of workers being humiliated during searching, while some are blacklisted, making it difficult for them to get work in other mines.

“When investors express interest to invest in the country, they are usually availed information on the country’s laws and regulations. Mr Mavunde said labour laws do not allow blacklisting of workers or using humiliating methods to search them such as making them strip and inspect their private parts.

“This is violation of human rights and measures will be taken against those found doing this.” The Deputy Minister was responding to a supplementary question from Joyce Mukya (Special Seats--Chadema) who wanted to know if there was an alternative method of searching workers instead of humiliating them such as what is currently being done at Tanzanite One in Arusha.

Mr Mavunde confirmed that he received such reports when he visited Tanzanite One in Arusha and issued directives, and a report by a committee formed to investigate mines in the country will shade more light on weather that method is still being used or not.

Earlier, the Deputy Minister said his office continues to oversee implementation of labour laws through conducting inspections at workplace. “Labour law education is also dispensed to workers and workers’ unions in an effort to increase their knowledge on the issue.

Measures have been taken including dragging to court, employers who go against the laws,” he explained. Mr Mavunde was responding to a basic question from John Kadutu (Ulyankulu – CCM), who wanted to know when the government will conduct inspection of contracts of companies contracted by mines and if the government will remove employers who humiliate their employees.

The Deputy Minister said the government formed a taskforce comprising officers from the PMO, National Social Security Fund, Social Security Regulatory Authority, OSHA, Tanzania Revenue Authority and Tanzania Minerals Audit Agency (TMAA) to conduct in-depth assessment on whether labour laws are being implemented, among other issues, in the Lake Zone and Northern mines.

“The government recognizes the importance of investors in increasing job opportunities to Tanzanians as well as contributing to the country’s economic growth. We will continue to ensure labour laws are implemented at workplaces,” he stressed.

Source: Daily News (28/04/2017)

African court to hear 84 cases

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

THE African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR) is set to determine 84 cases in its 45th Ordinary Session to be held in Arusha City starting early next month, it has been announced.

According to a statement issued in Dar es Salaam yesterday, during the session to be held from May 8 to 24, this year, the judges of the court will, among others, examine about 80 applications and four requests for Advisory Opinion.

The Court is composed of 11 judges who are nationals of Member States of the African Union elected in their individual capacity.

It meets four times a year in Ordinary Sessions and may hold Extra-Ordinary Sessions. Until April 25, this year, the Court had received 138 applications and has finalized 32 cases.

The AfCHPR was established by virtue of Article 1 of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

The main reason for its establishment was to complement the protective mandate of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights to enhance the protection of human rights on the continent.

Since the adoption of the Protocol in June 1998, about 30 of 55 African Union Member States have ratified it and only eight state parties to the Protocol have made the declaration under Article 34(6).

Tunisia signed the declaration on April 13, this year, becoming the eighth country to do so.

Other countries that have previously signed it are Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Malawi, Mali and Tanzania. Rwanda, which had signed, formally withdrew from the declaration last month, although the African Union Summit has urged the East African country to reconsider its position.

Meanwhile, the Republic of Ivory Coast has reiterated its commitments and full support of the African Court mandate. President Alassane Ouattara has invited the Court’s leadership to host their 47th Ordinary Session and the third Judicial Dialogue in Abidjan in November, this year.

According to a statement, the president of the West African country pledged his government’s readiness to work hand in hand with the Court to put in place all necessary arrangements to make the two activities memorable events.

President Ouattara had met with AfCHPR President, Justice Sylvain Orė, who called on him at his Palace in Abidjan recently. During their meeting, the two leaders discussed a range of issues, including the work of the African Court and the protection of human rights on the continent.

Source: Daily News (28/04/2017).

Israel appoints first woman to religious court

Tel Aviv, Israel.

Israel's Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked confirmed Tuesday that the country's Judicial Appointments Committee has approved the first female judge to a Muslim religious court. Both Jewish Rabbinical and Muslim Sharia courts hear marriage, divorce and other family law cases for their given religion in the country. 

Jewish law explicitly forbids women from serving as judges on Jewish family courts, but no similar rule exists for their Muslim counterparts. Women's advocates in the country hope the appointment will help lead to broader roles for women in Israel's judiciary. The judge, Hana Mansour-Khatib, is expected to be sworn in by Israel President Reuven Rivlin at some point in the next few weeks.

Women's roles in the judiciary have been controversial in Israel and other countries in the region for some time. Women's rights groups have criticised Jewish law for generally favouring men. In September 2016, a UN expert called for increased female participation in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. In 2010, Egypt's constitutional court system allowed its first women judges.

Source: Jurist

Kenya: House to grill petitioner seeking bhang legalisation

Nairobi, Kenya.

Why should bhang be legalised and all those behind bars for trading in the plant set free?

The Senate Health Committee will seek answers to this question as the man behind the petition to legalise cannabis sativa, commonly referred to as bhang, faces the team to defend his proposal.

“I am ready to defend my research. I have a wealth of evidence on this subject,” Gwada Ogot, a researcher, writer and political analyst, said on Thursday.

Mr Ogot wants a law passed to decriminalise the drug and those serving jail terms for offences related to the drug set free.

"I pray the House recommends amnesty for all people jailed for possession, usage, sale, cultivation and transportation of cannabis sativa. Criminalising cannabis creates criminals where none existed,” Mr Ogot said.

CASH CROP

Crimes and controversies over the plant are due to its prohibition, he said, adding that if legalised, it can be a cash crop that will contribute to improving people’s living standards besides boosting the country’s revenue.

If his proposal sails through, bhang will be deleted from the list of narcotic drugs in the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act of 1994.

“Research has indicated that bhang can be used for medicinal purposes to cure diseases. It is disease resistant and can be replanted several times a year without use of pesticides,” Mr Ogot argues in the petition.

In particular, he cites "industrial hemp", a variety of cannabis sativa that can be used for a range of purposes, including manufacturing fibre and lubricating oil, and medicinal applications.

REGULATORY BODY

Mr Ogot is pushing for the creation of a cannabis regulatory body, which he calls the Cannabis Sativa Board of Kenya, to oversee the planting, trading and consumption of the drug.

The committee will also seek public views on the matter before preparing a report about the viability of the proposal.

It will be interesting to see how the lawmakers handle the proposal, given that Kenya hosts one of East Africa’s busiest ports that is considered a transit point for narcotic drugs.

In countries like Spain, Netherlands, Uruguay, Switzerland and Portugal and in the state of Colorado in the United States, people freely smoke the drug but under certain regulations, and Kenya would join them if legislators agree to review existing laws.

Source: Daily Nation.

Tanzania: VIP Engineering, 2 others halt $168.8m pay order

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

The High Court (Commercial Division) has given the Standard Chartered Bank Hong Kong Limited and Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia Berhard three weeks (21 days) to respond to proceedings, seeking to set aside registration of a foreign summary judgment for payments of $168, 800,063 (about 400bn/-).

The proceedings relate to two applications lodged by three local companies – the Independent Power Tanzania Limited (IPTL) Pan African Power Solutions (T) Limited (PAP) and VIP Engineering and Marketing Limited (VIP) -- who are opposing the UK judgment dated November 16, 2016.

In a scheduling order given on April 3, 2017 following their oral application, the High Court Registrar, A K Rwizile, gave the two foreign banks until April 24, 2017 to file their counter-affidavit, the proceedings, Miscellaneous Commercial Causes No. 67 and 75 of 2017, lodged by the companies, respectively.

In their respective Affidavits deposed in support of the applications, Advocates Joseph Makandege for IPTL /PAP and Respicius Didace for VIP, have advanced several grounds for seeking to have the registration of the judgment set aside by the High Court, one being that the foreign judgment was obtained by fraud, thus, its enforcement would be contrary to Public Policy in Tanzania.

According to Mr Makandege, Standard Chartered Bank Hong Kong Limited, is said to have ‘masqueraded’ as a secured creditor of IPTL and assignee of the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) receivables, thereby fraudulently commencing and obtaining the judgment on that footing –which, in fact, they are not.

In their applications, IPTL, PAP and VIP are requesting the High Court to set aside the Ex-Parte Order given by Judge Barke Sehel of the High Court (Commercial Division) at Dar es Salaam on February 9, 2017, registering the foreign judgment given in favour of the two foreign Banks.

Justice Flux of the High Court of Justice of England, Queen’s Bench Division, Commercial Court, had given such judgment after VIP, PAP and IPTL had defaulted to submit to the jurisdiction of the London based English Court.

IPTL, PAP and VIP charge that Judge Sahel surprisingly issued the order registering such judgment in question without summoning them while they are all based within the vicinity of the High Court in Dar es Salaam, which they view as being at odds with the law and practice of the land.

Contacted, the IPTL/ PAP’s Company Secretary and Chief Counsel, Mr Joseph Makandege (Advocate), was reluctant to give further comment on the matter, simply pointing out that, “under the Imperial Rules on the enforcement of foreign judgment (the Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgment Rules, 1936), the application for registration of the Judgment could be made ex-parte to a judge in Chambers.

He added: “It was not mandatory that the applica-tion had to be heard and granted ex-parte as presented, considering the colossal sums and vital wider public interests at stake in the matter. Even the very Rules do not state that the application once made ex-parte has to be granted ex-parte without summoning the respondents and all other wouldbe affected parties.” The Judgment is highly contested on a number of grounds and fronts.

The three companies, the applicants in the matter, canvases for a declaration that the foreign judgment registered following ex-parte order given by Judge Sahel, is unregistrable and unenforceable in Tanzania.

The three companies are also applying for an order invalidating the Ex-Parte Ruling and Order by Judge Sahel, registering the said Foreign Summary English judgment; and an order invalidating and vacating the registration of the foreign judgment in question.

According to Mr Makandege, the enforcement of the judgment would circumvent, supersede and abrogates the ongoing court proceedings in Tanzania, including Civil Case No. 229 of 2013 and Civil Case No. 60 of 2014, in which the applicants are questioning the bank’s locus stand in litigating in the English proceedings culminating to the impugned Foreign Summary English Judgment. On his part, Mr Didace, for VIP states that the rights under the judgment are not vested in the person by whom the application for registration was made and VIP has the right to call all relevant Institutions in Tanzania to protect it against illegal conversion of its property rights by Standard Chartered Bank (SCB).

“That the application to have the English Judgment registered was heard in contravention of VIP’s Constitutional right to be heard and in breach of the Provisions of the Reciprocal Enforcement of Foreign Judgment Act, Cap 8 (R.E. 2002),” the Learned advocate states.

He added that the London Court had no jurisdiction to enter the judgment under circumstances within the meaning of Reciprocal enforcement of Foreign Judgment Act since September 5, 2013, the High Court of Tanzania under Judge John Utamwa appointed PAP to become the Statutory Manager of IPTL.

Judge Utamwa had ordered PAP to restructure IPTL and the High Court, at the instance of VIP and by implicit constructive consent of all interested parties, including SCB, also ordered that PAP should as soon as possible pay off all legitimate debts of IPTL, expand the power plant capacity to about 500MW.

“While SCB have not yet exhausted the remedies ordered by the High Court of Tanzania, the ex-parte judgment given by the English Court is not recognizable or enforceable under Tanzanian Law and was registered contrary to the Reciprocal Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act,” the advocate stated.

Counsel Didace stated in the affidavit that the fact that Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) obtained the ex-parte order that IPTL shall pay to SCB $168,800,063.87 was further evidence of illegal conversion of VIP and IPTL’s interests, being protected in the pending Civil Case No. 229 of 2013.

Source: Daily News.

Dar es Salaam: 30 witnesses on call over Dr Mvungi murder; and the Trial of the Queen of Ivory

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

The prosecution has lined up 30 witnesses to testify in a case involving the murder of the late Sengondo Mvungi, whose hearing is expected to start at the High Court in Dar es Salaam.

State Attorney Patric Mwita revealed this in court yesterday during the committal proceedings held before Kisutu Senior Resident Magistrate, Thomas Simba. Mr Mwita also told the court that 13 exhibits, among them, the instruments used, arrest warranties and caution statements of the accused would be tendered as evidence.

However, he ‘cautioned’ that the High Court had yet to set date for the hearing. It was alleged that the accused killed Dr Mvungi on November 3, 2013, at Msakuzi Kiswegere area within Kinondoni District in the city.

According to the prosecutor, a group of suspected robbers stormed the residence of Dr Mvungi (then aged 61), then a member of the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) where they allegedly attacked him on fateful November 3, 2013.

They critically wounded him when he attempted to fight back. He was first admitted to Muhimbili Orthopaedic Institute (MOI)’s Intensive Care Unit in Dar es Salaam, but his condition remained critical, prompting referral to Milpark Hospital in Parktown West, Johannesburg, South Africa on November 7, 2013.


The Trial of the Queen of Ivory, Chinese Yang Feng Clan

Principal Resident Magistrate, Huruma Shaidi has adjourned the trial of the alleged Queen of Ivory, Chinese Yang Feng Clan (66), charged with leading organised crime and unlawful dealing in government trophies worth 5.4bn/- to today.

Principal State Attorney Faraja Nchimbi told the court the case had come for the hearing of the inquiry proceedings and three witnesses had been lined up but could not appear due to ‘unavoidable’ circumstances.

“We communicated with the Zonal Crime Officer (ZCO) for the witnesses to show up in court and they were informed … but the witnesses have failed to show up today because they were carrying out an operation in Kibiti … they were to start their journey to Dar es Salaam on Monday but failed because the weather had gone bad,” said Mr Nchimbi.

He informed the court that the witnesses were to arrive at any moment yesterday and requested for an adjournment for the case to continue today.

Defence Counsel Jeremiah Mtobesya agreed that hearing continues today as requested. Clan is charged alongside two Tanzanian businessmen, Salivius Matembo (39) and Manase Philemon (39).

The prosecution alleges that between January 1, 2000 and May 22, 2014 in the city, all the three carried out illegal deals in government trophies.

Source: Daily News.

Dar es Salaam: police nab three aliens over 45kg ivory

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Police in Dar es Salaam have arrested 350 suspects over various crimes, including two South Africans and a Serbian allegedly found in possession of two pieces of ivory weighing 45kg.

Speaking during a press conference yesterday, the Dar es Salaam Special Police Zone Commander, Commissioner of Police (CP) Simon Sirro said the suspects were arrested during crackdowns in various parts of the city.

He said the two South Africans and a Serbian found in possession of the elephant tusks were arrested at Upanga- Charambe area on Tuesday night, last week.

The names of the suspects were withheld to facilitate investigation. The suspects are also accused of involving themselves in narcotic drugs business. According to him, the suspects are held for interrogation and to facilitate further investigations before they appear before the court of law.

“We also arrested a suspected killer, Musuguri Sylvester (24), who is accused of killing his wife, Samira Masoud (34), and hiding her body in a huge water container at Kibamba area in Ubungo Municipality, last month,” CP Sirro said.

He said that during interrogation, the Musuguri admitted to have killed his wife as he suspected her of having an extra marital relationship. After killing her, he sent a short text message to his wife’s relatives to go and collect the body before it decomposes.

The CP further said that other 40 suspects were being held on suspicions of being involved in narcotic drugs business. Thirty three of them were tested by the Government Chemist Laboratory Agency (GCLA) and were confirmed drug users and others seven are awaiting tests.

He said the other 306 suspects were arrested over various crimes including using marijuana and local liquor commonly known as ‘gongo’. He said the suspects are undergoing interrogation and will appear before the court of law after investigations are complete.

CP Sirro also warned city dwellers over the presence of conmen who call people on their mobile phones and promise to help them get employment with the Dar es Salaam UDA Rapid Transit (UDART).

Source: Daily News.

London: Domestic abuser must tell police if he gets a new girlfriend

London, U.K.

Londoner Kylle Godfrey believed to be first person in England and Wales to be subject to new domestic violence disclosure scheme.

A man who violently abused two former partners is believed to be the first person in England and Wales who must tell police if he gets a new girlfriend.

Under the seven-year criminal behaviour order, Kylle Godfrey must inform police if he is in a relationship for more than 14 days, while officers can tell new partners about his previous violent behaviour under the domestic violence disclosure scheme.

It is thought the specific requirement to notify police about developments in his private life – made under the Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Police Act 2014 – is a legal first.

Godfrey, 30, from Neasden, north-west London, who is serving a three-year prison sentence for two counts of actual bodily harm, perverting the course of justice and witness intimidation, throttled one victim and banged her head on the floor, causing trauma injuries to her head. The attacks took place over several days in October last year.

He continued to intimidate her while on bail and assaulted a second woman he was in a relationship with, Wood Green crown court in north London was told.

The order was made last week after Godfrey admitted the attacks during a court hearing on 14 February.

DI Jane Topping, of the Hackney community safety unit, said: “This order gives us a new way of protecting victims of domestic abuse and prevents other women from suffering at the hands of people like Godfrey, and helps our efforts to tackle domestic violence.

“The victim in Godfrey’s case was subjected to a horrendous ordeal by him following a sustained campaign of domestic violence. She has shown incredible bravery in supporting our investigation, and I hope she feels safer now Godfrey is behind bars and will be subject to closer scrutiny.”

Last year a man was given a court order requiring him to inform police 24 hours before any sexual contact with a woman, despite being cleared of rape.

Magistrates in York said the man, who could not be named for legal reasons, was also subject to restrictions online and was required to declare to police any phone he owned that was capable of accessing the internet, calling or texting people.

He was acquitted of raping a woman at a retrial in 2015 after claiming that the alleged victim had consented.

Source: The Guardian U.K.

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