Court of Appeal has dismissed an application in a case involving Commission of Inquiry into land matters chairperson Justice Catherine Bamugemereire.
The Attorney General had sought to stay execution of orders that were made by the High Court Judge Justice Andrew Bashija saying that the government will suffer loss of over Shs9bn in questionable claims of payments to Daniel Walugembe, a land dealer.
Led by Justice Kenneth Kakuru, the three Justices of the Court of Appeal including Justice Stephen Musota and Justice Christopher Madrama, upheld the decision of the lower court.
Walugembe challenged a decision by Bamugemereire’s Commission which in an August 2, 2018 letter to the Uganda Land Commission directed that he is not paid compensation for his land but rather the landlords.
Justice Bashaija quashed the orders. Likewise, Court of Appeal said the application seeking orders for stay of execution must first satisfy the court that indeed the orders or the decree appealed from is capable of being stayed and there is an inherent danger of execution.
“Be that as it may, even if we did find that the said orders could be stayed, the decree of the High Court in respect of which the applicant [Attorney General] is not a party has neither been challenged nor stayed,” the justices ruled.
They said a grant of an order staying execution of the orders a raising from judicial review proceedings would in no way effect the said consent decree and as such it would be an exercise in futility.
“We say so because then, the orders of the Land Commission effectively staying the decree of the High Court of 2016 would appear to have been green light by the order being sought in this application.”
The justices said the judgement of court cannot be stayed, reviewed or otherwise compromised by orders issued by the executive because that would be a blatant constitutional error and a decree of court can only be stayed by the court that issued it or an appellate court.
“Allowing this application would revive the order of the commission of inquiry on land matters which have the effect of staying a judgment. In this case our considered view is that the attorney general ought to have sought to set aside the consent decree that is the case. That would have triggered a process in which a stay of that decree would be considered by the court itself.”