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Uganda’s anti-corruption court sentences international gold scammers

Uganda’s anti-corruption court has been hearing an incredible story about a gang of scammers, headed by Lawrence Lual Malong of South Sudan, a high-living playboy, sometimes photographed lying in pools of US dollars and wearing shoes, clothes and watches worth a fortune. Malong and two co-accused were convicted of fraud in that they extracted huge sums from two Ethiopian businessmen, living in South Africa, for gold that did not exist.

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Uganda’s anti-corruption court has never seen anything like it. The three accused, one of whom has an international profile for high-living, standing in the dock, having to answer for their role in an incredible scam, spread across many parts of the world.

Apologising for delay, Sierra Leone’s highest court says appeal ‘beggars belief’ because based on ‘unsigned and undated’ documents

The highest court in Sierra Leone has dismissed an appeal by the losing candidate in an election for chieftaincy. The appeal was, however, based on provisions that only came into legal operation after the disputed election. Not just that, the provisions were also never shown to any witness nor, until they were attached as annexures in counsel’s final written address, were they even available to the court itself.


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Sierra Leone’s supreme court has set its face against a candidate who failed to be elected as a paramount chief in 2003. In the process of finding against P C Mohamed Kailondo Banya, the five judges who heard his appeal apologised for the role that the judiciary might have played in the almost unheard-of delays in finalising the issue.

The court said it was ‘extremely regrettable’ that a matter filed in May 2011 should only have been heard ‘at the tail end of 2020’.

Uganda’s ‘forest people’ win judgment over land dispossession for gorilla parks

A little-known Ugandan tribe, evicted from their ancestral lands to make way for three internationally famous national parks that are home to endangered gorillas, have won an important legal victory. The constitutional court of Uganda has held they must be helped and compensated for the loss of their lands. The Batwa people lived in the forests that are now known as the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and the Echuva Central Forest Reserve.


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Uganda’s Batwa people, forced out of their traditional lands when some of the world’s last reserves for mountain gorillas were declared, are now to be given compensation and a chance at a decent life again.

Case built on ‘a lie’ by investigators, prosecutors ‘gone rogue’ – judge clears former Botswana intelligence agent of charges

It will be a long time until the dust settles after this week’s sensational judgment in the case of Botswana’s former intelligence officer, Welheminah Maswabi. After a great deal of hype about the enormous sums of money that she was supposed to have stolen from the Botswana government – a total that was a good deal more than the country’s entire gross domestic product – the court found that the director of public prosecutions and the investigation team that worked on the case, had fabricated and deliberately falsified evidence.

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Test of judicial impartiality, independence, for Eswatini judges

A case pending before the Supreme Court of Eswatini, and due for hearing at the end of August, could be a crucial test of judicial independence in the country. Lawyers involved in the case say at least three of the five judges due to preside when the case is called, are candidates for recusal. The appeal is due to deal with a high court’s declaration that key sections of Eswatini’s terrorism and sedition laws were unconstitutional.


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At issue in the pending appeal is a crucial majority decision in the high court, finding that essential elements of Eswatini’s terrorism and seditions laws were unconstitutional.

But the appeal against that judgment, originally made in 2016, has not been able to be heard because of the shortage of supreme court judges in Eswatini.

Newly ‘perfected’ death penalty decision shows all is far from perfect on Malawi’s apex court

It was an amazing glitch: though a majority of Malawi’s highest court was seen to have declared the death penalty unconstitutional in a decision delivered late April, the court now says this isn’t so. According to a ‘perfected’ version of the judgment, published this week, the lead writer of the April decision was expressing his own views on the death penalty, not those of his colleagues.

SADC loses appeal over unlawfully terminated contract with top tribunal official

Claims by senior Malawian judge, Charles Mkandawire, that his position with the Southern African Development Community’s now defunct tribunal was unlawfully terminated have again been upheld. Three judges of the SADC Administrative Tribunal’s appeal panel have dismissed an appeal brought by SADC, testing last year’s decision in favour of Judge Mkandawire, the original tribunal’s first registrar.


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The Southern African Development Community, having caved in to pressure from Zimbabwe’s former president, Robert Mugabe, to close down its Windhoek-based tribunal, has now been forced to face up to some of the financial and reputational consequences.

Ugandan court guts anti-porn laws women say oppress, rather than protect, them

Women’s organisations and several individual women in Uganda have challenged key parts of the country’s 2014 laws intended to deal with pornography. They claimed that, far from protecting women, the ‘overbroad’ laws had led to women being assaulted and literally undressed in public by men who claimed their dress was ‘too skimpy’.

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Uganda’s anti-pornography laws, in operation since 2014, have long been a problem for women. Almost from the day the new legislation became law, women complained that men used it to target and harass them for the clothes they were wearing. The law itself was referred to as a ‘miniskirt ban’ and it led to protests by women who said it dictated what was acceptable by way of dress.

Strong human rights judgment for prisoners in Lesotho

In an important human rights judgment, the high court of Lesotho has held that a former army commander, Tlali Kamoli, now a prisoner, refused bail and standing trial for murder and attempted murder, may attend the funeral of his son who died recently. The decision is important because Chief Justice Sakoane Sakoane, who wrote the decision, stressed the principle that the human rights of prisoners had to be taken into account in making such a decision - and in fact did so in his judgment.

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In the introduction to his decision, Chief Justice Sakoane Sakoane explained that the applicant in this case, Tlali Kamoli, in prison and waiting for the conclusion of his trial, had heard the news of his son’s death and had applied to attend the funeral.

Justice for Memory

Reports from Zimbabwe that a 14-year-old girl, Memory Machaya, died giving birth last month have inflamed social media in that country. Memory, whose family is part of an indigenous apostolic sect, was ‘married’ at 13 after her family forced her to leave school. She was buried within hours of her death, without any official investigation.

Read Zimbabwe constitutional court’s 2016 decision on marriage age

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