Court has ordered Deputy Chief Justice Steven Kavuma to defend himself in a case in which he is accused of holding trials without notifying both parties involved in the dispute.
High Court Judge Lydia Mugambe ordered Justice Kavuma through his lawyers last Friday to file his defence within seven days.
The case is set for the hearing on February 9.
The court directive was issued after the petition came up for hearing. Lawyer Tom Magezi told the High Court that Justice Kavuma had instructed them to represent him in the case.
In the petition, city businessman Wilfred Bugingo is accusing Justice Kavuma of violating rules of procedure when he fixed and heard a case against him without notifying him yet he was a party to the matter.
Mr Bugingo is a party to a case filed by his opponent Willy Jagwe.
He contends that between May 30 and November 2, 2016, Justice Kavuma convened several court sittings over the case same case and issued dubious interim orders against him without a viable application being filed in court as the basis for such orders.
“In all those hearings whose notification I am not aware of, and where I was not heard, the respondent (Kavuma) has continued to make orders against my rights. In making and issuing the order on November 2, 2016, the respondent acted with impunity when he convened court without notifying me, and purported to extend an order that had not yet lapsed,” Mr Bugingo said in his sworn affidavit in the High Court.
Court documents indicate that Bugingo’s resolve to petition the High Court is a fifth move after what he described as vain attempts to have his complaint addressed administratively.
Other attempts include appealing to Justice Kavuma himself to have the case file allocated to three judges as required by law, letters to the registrar of the Court of Appeal, petition to the Chief Registrar of Courts and a petition to the Chief Justice Bart Katureebe.
In September last year, Mr Bugingo petitioned the Constitutional Court challenging the Deputy Chief Justice Kavuma’s decision to allocate himself the case file instead of appointing a panel of judges of the Court of Appeal to hear it.
Mr Bugingo wants the High Court to declare as null and void the Justice Kavuma’s actions to sit and continue entertaining proceedings as a single judge of the Court of Appeal and make consequent orders affecting him without giving him notice.
In 2014 court ruled in favour of Bugingo in a case between him and rival businessman Jagwe.
The court ordered Jagwe to pay Mr Bugingo more than Shs5 billion as compensation for destruction of his plantation in Mubende District.
According to court documents, in a bid to block the implementation of the court judgment Mr Jagwe moved to the Execution Division of the High Court but before the matter was decided, he went to the Court of Appeal and secured interim orders from Justice Kavuma to halt implementation of the High Court judgment until further notice.