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EA court throws out Basajjabalaba application against criminal prosecution

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EA court throws out Basajjabalaba application against criminal prosecution
Basajjabala's lawyers Fred Mukasa Mbidde (second left) and others lost the case

The First Instance Division of the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) has declined to grant ex parte orders to businessman Hassan Basajjabalaba, to stop the government of Uganda from summoning him for criminal investigation.

In a ruling delivered by Judges Lady Justice Monica Mugenyi (Principal Judge), Justice Isaac Lenaola (Deputy Principal Judge), and Justice Fakihi A. Jundu, the panel rejected an ex-parte application filed by Mr Joseph Kyazze and Fred Mukasa Mbidde, counsel for Basajjabalaba on April 17, 2018, under a certificate of urgency premised under Article 39 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community and Rule 21 (2) of the Rules of procedure of the court.

The application was triggered by a letter dated April 9, 2018, requiring Bassajjabalaba to appear before the CID at Kibuli on April 24, 2018, to provide further information in the matter under investigation to facilitate the ongoing preparations for the hearing of the criminal case against him.

In the application Basajjabalaba was seeking ex-parte restraining orders against the Republic of Uganda and its agencies, specifically the Uganda Police and any other security agency, to wit: that the summons issued on April 9, 2018, requiring the attendance of Basajjabalaba before the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to be interrogated or questioned in relation to criminal case No. 3 of 2018, should not be implemented until the hearing of a Reference pending before Court.

Other orders sought are in respect of restraining orders to stop the arrest of the Applicant they are being charged in any court and the reconstitution of any bench of the Constitutional Court of Uganda to re-fix for hearing de-novo (hearing the matter afresh) of the petition No. 3 of 2013, pending delivery of judgment by that Court.

However, court after listening to the arguments, said that it was not satisfied that the Applicants had made a case to warrant the grant of ex parte order in their favour and consequently declined to do so.

Court noted that, it is aware that the applicant on May 8, 2013, obtained orders in petition No.12 of 2013 by the Constitutional Court in Uganda, in which the Respondent (Government of Uganda) was prohibited from court using the processes of any court, so as to initiate and prosecute the Applicants for any charges arising out of or in connection with the issues forming the subject matter of the criminal case mentioned earlier.

The Constitutional Court also ordered that all pending charges and proceedings against the Applicant in the same criminal case No. 3 of 2013 be stayed.

According to Court, the orders issued by the Constitutional Court of Uganda are broad enough to cover the Applicants complaints before it at the ex-parte stage.

The Court also said that, it does not see irreparable injustice the Applicants may suffer if it does not grant any ex-parte orders, as they are already the beneficiaries of protective orders issued by the Constitutional Court of Uganda.