Controversy follows this Ugandan judge, from roads to land

Justice Catherine Bamugemereire of Uganda’s Court of Appeal has something of a name for being a tireless fighter against corruption. But her commission’s findings against a key figure in a 2015 report into allegations of fraud in the country’s national roads authority has just been set aside by the high court on the grounds of her perceived bias against him, and because his right to be treated fairly was infringed.

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Marvin Baryaruha is a familiar figure to Ugandan readers. Everyone else might benefit from a brief introduction: formerly legal officer of the Uganda National Roads Authority (Unra), Baryaruha was fingered by the Court of Appeal’s Justice Catherine Bamugemereire when she reported on her 2015/16 commission of inquiry into the country’s national roads authority.

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Two African cigarette companies have been slugging it out in court for years, trying to gain advantage in the lucrative smoking markets of Uganda, Kenya, South Sudan and elsewhere. Both Leaf Tobacco and Mastermind Tobacco want to work the problem of access to South Sudan for their own benefit. Most recently Leaf Tobacco has sued Uganda’s revenue authority, saying it is complicit in allowing the smuggling of cigarettes, and that the Ugandan revenue authority ought to obey the orders of a court in South Sudan.

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Health authorities in Uganda may be trying to persuade the public to stop smoking. But the tobacco companies are fighting back, trying to squeeze every advantage they can out of the reducing market.

Spy-thriller fizzles as Ugandan court acquits suspect

Official security networks in Uganda and neighbouring Sudan were set buzzing in 2013 when a Sudanese diplomat was expelled from Uganda. Shortly afterwards the story broke of the arrest of a Ugandan clerk in his country’s foreign intelligence agency, the External Security Organisation. Stephen Kisembo, a staffer of the ESO, had been found with secret documents, according to the story, and was to stand trial. He was alleged to have been delivering similar documents over several years to Sudanese diplomats, in a plan devised by the expelled envoy.

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It made a great splash in the media when Ugandan civil servant Stephen Kisembo was arrested and charged with spying for Sudan. When the high court of Uganda acquitted him recently, however, not so much.


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