Ex-UNBS Director Ebiru Moves to Pause Corruption Trial

David Livingstone Ebiru's Attempt to Block Corruption Trial
David Livingstone Ebiru's Attempt to Block Corruption Trial
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The Attorney General has submitted a request to the Anti-Corruption court, asking for the dismissal of an application made by the former executive director of the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS), David Livingstone Ebiru. Ebiru is seeking to suspend his trial on bribery charges until investigations are concluded.

According to the prosecution, Ebiru is accused of offering Shs 100 million in gratification to Charles Masekuura, the chairperson of the UNBS board, between October and December 2022. The alleged purpose of this offer was to secure his position as the executive director of UNBS. On August 8, 2023, a warrant for Ebiru’s arrest was issued by the Chief Magistrate’s court, instructing the police to apprehend him immediately upon sighting him.

Despite these instructions, attempts to arrest him have been unsuccessful. Instead, Ebiru has filed a lawsuit against the Attorney General, challenging the trial and submitting an application to halt it. His argument revolves around his dissatisfaction with the Inspectorate of Government’s (IGG) decision to prematurely approve charges against him without prior investigations.

Ebiru seeks to pause the trial, asserting that his fundamental rights and freedoms were violated by the IGG’s actions in issuing a warrant for his arrest and preferring charges. He also maintains that there is a pending arrest warrant in the Anti-Corruption court, which poses an imminent threat of enforcement, rendering his application ineffective. In the main substantive case, Ebiru aims to have the criminal summons, arrest warrant, and trial declared illegal.

Ebiru, represented by Web Advocates, additionally requests a permanent injunction against the IGG and her agents from pursuing charges against him. He also seeks compensation from the government for violating his fundamental rights.

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During the court hearing presided over by Justice Jane Okuo Kajuga, the Attorney General, represented by Principal State Attorney Wanyama Kodoli, argued for the dismissal of the temporary injunction application. Kodoli contended that the Anti-Corruption court division (ACD) lacks jurisdiction to handle human rights enforcement matters, which should be filed elsewhere.

In response, Ebiru’s lawyer cited the Human Rights Enforcement Act, which grants the High Court and Magistrates Court authority to address human rights violations originating from their respective courts. The lawyer further stated that the court itself can rely on civil law or procedure and issue an injunction to halt proceedings because the law does not specify jurisdiction for any specific court.

After hearing arguments from both sides, Justice Kajuga has scheduled September 19 as the date to announce her decision on the matter. It is alleged that Ebiru confessed to bribing the UNBS board with Shs 100 million to avoid suspension, a sum he purportedly borrowed. However, Ebiru claims that he made these statements in a fit of anger and has never actually engaged in bribery.

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