Alex Candia, the lawyer representing a petitioner who challenged Parliament’s mandate to debate and investigate the circumstances under which 42 government officers received Ugx 6 billion as bonuses to defend a tax case, has apologized to the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga.
Candia’s apology stemmed from Parliament’s decision to suspend committee and House sittings indefinitely until government vacates the court order stopping the August House from probing how the officers were paid the bonuses, a matter which drew wide public anger.
Rebecca Kadaga, the Speaker of Parliament ordered the Deputy Attorney General, Mwesigwa Rukutana, to return to court and have the injunction issued by Deputy Chief Justice, Steven Kavuma on January 9, 2017, quashed.
Her directive stemmed from a protracted debate in Parliament on January 11, in which MPs condemned the Constitutional court order and termed it as a ploy to block Parliament’s core role of legislating.
While addressing the media in the Speaker’s boardroom on January 11, 2017, alongside Kasilo County MP, Elijah Okupa and Bukedea Woman MP, Anita Among, Candia stated that the court order would grossly affect the running of Parliament and government.
“We all know that without the Parliament working, the country will not be working and we got concerned. I came to the Speaker to express our regret at the action, not the fact that we represented the client because it was our legal duty. It is the effect of our actions is that the country may not be running for some time. I have come to the Speaker to apologise that we didn’t know that our actions have far reaching consequences to the country and we also want to apologise to the country for the effect that the order has caused to the nation,” Candia explained to the media.
He said initially, the law firm did not have enough information on the matter, hence taking the decision.
When questioned on whether he was abandoning his client, Eric Sabiiti, Candia had this to say. He however stated that his decision to apologise does not question the legality of the court order.
“I am going back to my client and advise him as counsel to consider withdrawing the matter which are before courts of law, notwithstanding the merits that the petition has, in the interest of having the nation run…but the ultimate decision to make this decision will be his,” Candia said.
Okupa and Among, who had earlier held a closed door meeting with Candia, welcomed the decision by the lawyer, saying that
“We have gone a step ahead because of national interest ahead of everything. This is the right way to move,” Okupa said.
Among advised the 42 government officers to also approach Parliament and request for dialogue to have the impasse resolved.
Meanwhile, the Judiciary issued a statement, advising Parliament to follow the law and challenge the Justice Kavuma court order in the Constitutional Court, where a panel of three justices would hear the appeal.