Top cop Bakaleke’s first attempt to block own kidnap and graft trial fails

High Court judge Musa Ssekaana dismisses Siraje Bakaleke's attempt to stop his trial but gives him another chance since DPP did not show up in court

JUSTICE | Former Kampala South Regional Police Commander Siraje Bakaleke’s first attempt to block his trial by the anti-corruption court has failed after the High Court’s Civil Division dismissed his interim application on grounds that it’s not based “on any law.”

Sarah Nakachwa, Bakaleke’s lawyer, had taken advantage of the non appearance of the Attorney General’s lawyers — despite being served — to ask Justice Musa Ssekaana to issue an interim order stopping the suspended senior cop’s kidnap trial at the anti-graft court.

The trial of Bakaleke and six other police officers is supposed to start next month at the Anti-Corruption Court, which issued them with criminal summons after a no-show during mention of the case last month.

Sendo Cleaners

Nakachwa invoked the civil procedures telling Judge Ssekaana that he has powers to stop the trial at least in the interim since his client is challenging the procedure used by the Directorate of Public Prosecutions to indict him.

But Judge Ssekaana dismissed Nakchwa’s application on grounds that it was “oral” and accordingly it didn’t have any “standing in law.”

Instead, the judge issued fresh summons to both the attorney and the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to appear before his court next month, asking the aforementioned offices to show more interest in the case.

“The DPP should be served because this application challenges his powers to prosecute,” Ssekaana ruled in an afternoon session in which the applicant, Bakaleke himself, was not present.

“They should show more interest,” the judge added.

Though the Anti-corruption Court has summoned Bakaleke to appear next month over kidnapping of Korean nationals, he wants to block his trial saying it’s “contrary to public interest.”

Bakaleke and six other police officers are having court summons hovering over their heads since they never showed up when charges of kidnapping three South Koreans Ha Dongsub, Jang Seungkwon, Park Seunghoon, with the sole purpose of defrauding them were read to them at the Anti-Corruption Court, last week.

Instead of facing the anti-graft court, Bakaleke has decided to seek relief from at the High Court’s Civil Division, asking it to block his impending trial grounds that the DPP is abusing its discretion to press charges contrary to “public interest, administration of justice and abuse of legal process in itself.”

Bakaleke’s arguments

In his application, Bakaleke takes advantage of the unusual move in which his charge sheet was drafted by Police and the DPP Mike Chibita only consented to it.

He contends that such a movSeake prejudices him since the DPP acted irrationally to consent to the charges yet there is no scintilla of evidence, on the face of it.

“That I’m squarely aware that the DPP is not supposed to be directed when exercising his discretion on whether to prosecute or not but the law does not give a license for being reckless under the guise of “after all it is courts duty to exonerate the accused upon hearing,” he says in his affidavit in support of the his application of judicial review.

“That the right to prosecute and not to be directed or controlled by any authority is not absolute and must be interpreted alongside the constitutional mandate of the office of the DPP to have regard to the public interest, the interest of the administration of justice and the need to prevent abuse of legal process.”

Bakaleke, who is at the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police, and the aforementioned police officers are accused of wrongfully arresting and confining Ha, Jang and Park, which the DPP says was in abuse of the authority and their offices.

Still in the same charge sheet, Bakaleke’s woes are compounded by the fact the DPP accuses him of conspiring with private citizens such as Paul Mugoya Wanyoto, a resident of Kiwatule and Samuel Nabeta Mulowooza the Managing Director of EyePower Eng. Co to defraud Mcklinley Resource company of $415,000.

But Bakaleke insists wants Justice Musa Ssekaana to quash the charges since according to him they are dead on arrival.

Bakaleke’s problems have accumulated since Inspector General of Police (IGP), Martins Okoth Ochola, a couple of months ago, suspended him once investigations into allegations of extorting $400,000 (Shs1.4 billion) from two South Korean nationals commenced.

Though former IGP Kale Kayihura had instructed that Bakaleke and his co-conspirators be tried at police disciplinary tribunal, but once Ochola took over, he ordered that they should be criminally charged in the courts of law.

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