The secretary of Soroti University has petitioned the Principal Judge, Flavian Zeija, seeking withdrawal of trial judge Margaret Tibulya from hearing her case over alleged bias.
Ms Ruth Achimo Etibot accuses the judge for denying her a chance to get legal representation.
In 2018, Ms Achimo was charged and arraigned before the Anti-Corruption Court on charges of abuse of office and diversion of public resources.
“It is my contention that the allegations from which these charges arise were maliciously levelled against me with the motive on the part of those who alleged, to get me out of office as accounting officer. Since then, I have been on interdiction,” the December 13 petition copied to Chief Justice, the Judicial Service Commission and Inspectorate of Court, reads in part.
Ms Achimo claims that on September 21 last year, her lawyers filed an application before Justice Tibulya challenging the legality of the prosecution’s intended evidence against her.
“Unfortunately, the trial judge in connivance with the prosecution and in deliberate attempt to frustrate my application fixed the case for trial on December 13 to 17, 2021, and relocated to Soroti High Court premises to ensure that she concluded the matter before hearing of the application that was filed,” the letter reads.
Ms Achimo said she proceeded to court on December 13.
“When my file was called for hearing, I immediately put up my hand and informed the trial judge that I received a notice from my lawyers informing me of their withdrawal from representing me,” she said.
Ms Achimo added that Justice Tibulya sided with the submissions of the state attorney and overruled her request and proceeded to hear the case without her being represented.
“I insisted that I needed legal representation during the hearing of any evidence against me because it’s my constitutional right,” she said.
When contacted, Justice Tibulya asked us to seek clarification from either the court registrar or the prosecutor.
Judiciary spokesperson Jameson Karemani said they were waiting for the principle judge’s decision.
“Since the complaint is addressed to the principal judge, we await his decision on the allegations levelled on the judge,”Mr Karemani said.
Efforts to get a comment from the principal judge were futile as he didn’t pick our repeated calls.
Ms Achimo claims the charges were triggered by a special Auditor General’s report, which was irregularly procured by the vice chancellor, Prof Robert Ikoja Odonga and Mr Francis Xavier Lubanga, the chairperson of the University Council without any input from management.
Efforts to get comment from the duo were futile by press time.