By Spy Uganda
Kampala: It’s now very clear and legal to drag the Bank of Uganda and its employees directly to court after the Constitutional Court quashing sections 118 and 124 of the Financial Institutions Act that has been shielding the officials and the institution from being sued directly if there is any crime committed.
This was after five Justices of the constitutional court; Muzamiru Kibeedi Elizabeth Musoke, Egonda Ntende, Irene Mulyagonja and Cheborion Barishaki, ruled that there was nothing special stoping Bank of Uganda from being sued directly since the constitution asserts that all people are equal before the law.
They ruled, “This gives unjustified and arbitrary protection to the BoU, which is contrary to article 21 of the Constitution which provides that all persons are equal before and under the law in all sphere of political, economic, social and cultural life and every other respect and shall enjoy equal protection of the law.
Given that BoU’s directives to freeze a person’s account have a bearing on the constitutional right to property, it is vital in safeguarding those rights that the courts retain the powers to scrutinize the actions of the Bank of Uganda on their merits. This will ensure, not only freezing orders are not unjustly made but also that the BoU’s receives equal treatment as other persons who in similar circumstances will be amenable to legal proceedings.”
Genesis Of The Ruling
The ruling stems from a petition by Peter Ssajjabi and Swift Commercial Establishment Ltd challenging the constitutional powers of BoU after ”dubiously” freezing their accounts.
Ssajjabi was bared by the law to battle the BoU with its officials legally something court has found unconstitutional and ordered the bank to unfreeze Ssajjabi’s accounts.
“No one, not even the BOU can be shielded from answering to the dictates of justice. Unfortunately, Section 124 of the FIA does just that and gives Section 118 of the FIA that undesirable effect. Accordingly, I would hold to the extent alluded to above, that the impugned Sections 118 and 124 of the FIA, are inconsistent with and in contravention of Articles 2, 20(2), 22, 28 (1), 42, 44 (c), 3(a) and 126 of the Constitution,” court further ruled.